UPMC may be shopping for an alternative site to build a hospital in the South Hills.
The hospital system has challenged the Pleasant Hills zoning code to build a 300,000-square-foot hospital on Route 51 at Lindsay Sykes Road. Hospitals are not an approved land use in the municipality’s zoning code, and a hearing on the challenge is scheduled for April 25.
A final decision is up to the borough council.
But a commercial real estate services firm with offices Downtown received a recent inquiry about building a similarly sized facility for medical uses a few miles away on Route 51 at Elliot Road. The 25-acre parcel, former home to the Colonial Drive-In, is zoned for an office park, which is also suitable for construction of a hospital, said James Kelly, principal and senior vice president of Avison Young.
The inquiry came within the past week, after Mr. Kelly said he’d sent marketing materials for the Route 51/Elliot Road site to UPMC and Allegheny Health Network. AHN officials said Friday they had no building plans for the site, and UPMC spokeswoman Gloria Kreps was not immediately available.
“It sounded to me [as if] they were representing the hospital,” Mr. Kelly said about the broker, who did not identify himself during the call. “It’s really good topography up there.”
The mostly flat tract, which has been vacant since the mid-1980s, is in Jefferson Hills Borough, a few miles from the 80-acre Pleasant Hills parcel where UPMC said it wants to build a hospital, but Jefferson officials said UPMC has not submitted plans for the site. The list price for the land is $1.3 million.
Experts say that a 300,000-square-foot hospital would cost between $200 million and $220 million to build, an investment that would eliminate all but the biggest health care systems.
The new site would have some development advantages for UPMC, including extensive frontage on Route 51 with improved road visibility. But the new site doesn’t have a traffic light, which a hospital is likely to need.
Both sites are within a mile of Allegheny Health Network’s 341-bed Jefferson Hospital. AHN officials have been critical of UPMC plans, saying another hospital would be a waste of health care resources. But UPMC said the project would create hundreds of jobs while serving its patients who live in the Route 51 corridor.
Kris B. Mamula: email@example.com or 412-263-1699.