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Privately funded Penn Township industrial park taking shape

| Thursday, May 16, 2002

The developer of the new Bushy Run Corporate Park in Penn Township is optimistic about chances for attracting businesses and jobs to the privately funded complex.

"So far, there has been a tremendous amount of interest," said David Reese, broker-owner of Commercial Choice Realty Inc. who is marketing the 168-acre industrial park on behalf of Laura Developer LLC of Murrysville.

The Laura company is headed by Gerald R. Bartolomucci, who today is scheduled to join Reese and Penn Township officials to mark the start of infrastructure construction at the site, located between Mellon Road and Walton Road just south of Route 22.

In addition, there may be an announcement about an initial tenant.

"We have a company that has 32 acres under agreement for purchase," said Reese.

He declined to immediately identify the company, but said it is a local firm interested in expansion.

"This makes sense judging from the demand we have seen," Reese said. He said the developer has shown faith in the project through his own capital investment with no public dollars. By the time the infrastructure is completed, that investment could total nearly $6 million, including the initial purchase of the property in late 1999.

The site once housed a research center affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University, and until the mid-1990s was used by Union Carbide Co.

Now that work is about to get under way on sewers and utilities to serve the property, Reese expects other companies to follow.

"People wanted to see ground moving first," he said. "They have been deterred somewhat waiting to see that happen, but now we expect some of them to come forward."

When the project was originally introduced in 2000, the developer projected a mix of corporate offices, small business offices, professional complexes, medical facilities, warehouses and light industry.

Reese said the vision remains essentially the same, with several of the 20 lots zoned partially for office use, and most of the remaining acreage zoned for light industrial use.

With the exception of the large, 32-acre parcel, the majority of the lots range in size from three to nine acres, Reese said. They are being offered for sale for $65,000 an acre.

He believes the site should prove attractive because of the access provided by the expansion of Route 22 in the area and its proximity to the Amos Hutchinson Bypass of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

"We feel we have a great location to serve Allegheny County (to the west) and all points to the east," Reese said. "And you can also go south via Route 66 (the bypass.)

Reese noted the continued evidence of business expansion in the nearby areas of Penn Township, Murrysville and Delmont, including a planned Wal-Mart Superstore straddling Salem Township and Murrysville, as well as the success of Westmoreland County Industrial Park III.

The 86-acre county-owned park, which is just across Mellon Road from the site, is fully occupied with 18 companies employing more than 920, said Kim Donnelly, spokeswoman for the county Planning Department.

"That is a fast-growing area, and we need more development sites there," Donnelly said. "So this could be a good opportunity for them."

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