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Supervisors OK Tech 21 project

| Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2004

After five years of talk, Marshall supervisors on Monday finally approved the Tech 21 business-residential park.

Supervisors unanimously voted to approve the project, which put an end to years of sometimes contentious debate about how the park should look.

"This was a very long, sometimes arduous process," said Thomas Madigan, chairman of the supervisors.

"I think we have a plan for economic development that will be both an asset to the township and the region as well."

The $200 million development includes offices, apartments or town houses, two restaurants and a hotel on 223 acres at Brush Creek and Warrendale-Bayne roads, just off the Interstate 79 Warrendale exit. Developers said the plan is expected to create more than 4,000 jobs.

Plans call for 1.28 million square feet of office space on 100 acres, 140 garden apartments or 113 town houses on 14 acres and two restaurants and a hotel on 5 acres. Ninety-six acres of the site would be unused.

Supervisors were worried about the partnership's financing plan to build the road improvements and approving the plans without the state Department of Transportation's go-ahead. An estimated 5,000 vehicles are expected to enter and leave the site each day.

Yesterday, developers agreed to back the cost of the road improvements with bonds.

Donald Smith, senior vice president of real estate company CB Richard Ellis, said developers hope to break ground by the end of the year.

PennDOT officials currently are reviewing the plans, but developers said there is almost no chance PennDOT will reject the traffic plan.

Developers plan for the main entrance to be off Warrendale-Bayne Road. The driveway then would continue along the property's ridge and connect with Knob Road. Numerous turning lanes will be added, including ones along Warrendale-Bayne Road, Route 19 and Brush Creek Road.

Developers also plan to widen Warrendale-Bayne Road to four lanes from Wheatland Road to Route 19.

The Tech 21 plan was first pitched in 1999, when officials said they planned to break ground by that November on a $350 million park.

The plan hit its first snag when Marshall supervisors didn't like the original design.

A second plan, which called for less ground to be disturbed, received tentative approval in August 2002. Last fall, Tech 21 officials said they were delayed in moving the plan forward because of the sputtering economy, among other reasons.

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