Complex OK'd for Blue Spruce site in Murrysville

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Groundbreaking may be held at the end of the month for the Blue Spruce Shoppes, a $17 million project of retail and office space on Route 22 in Murrysville, where the landmark Blue Spruce Motel and swimming pool used to stand.

At its Dec. 19 meeting, Murrysville council approved the project, described as an upscale center that will include retail, office space, restaurants, a day care facility, hair salon, medical office, bank and green space.

The 67,853-square-foot complex will consist of four buildings, one of which will be two stories high, said Herky Pollock, developer and executive vice president of the Pittsburgh office of CBRE, a commercial real estate services firm.

Mr. Pollock is partnering with Mark Baranowski, owner of North Park Lounge and Cabana Bar, on the development. Architectural Services Group Inc. of Tennessee is the architect.

In addition to Mr. Baranowski's restaurant, the complex will include Burgatory, Moe's Southwest Grill, Starbucks, The Goddard School for Early Childhood Development, a Wine and Spirits store, Sports Clips hair salon and more.

The property will have green space, fountains and ambient music and lighting, Mr. Pollock said.

"We are 82 percent leased and/or committed, which is unheard of for a development that hasn't even broken ground," he said.

Developers still need to obtain permits from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the state Department of Transportation plus local building and land development permits, said Jim Morrison, chief administrator for Murrysville.

"The biggest challenges in getting approval were getting the planning commission and council comfortable that we are planning a center that will be a great amenity to their residents," Mr. Pollock said. "Also, making sure that the traffic and public safety were adequately addressed and well thought out."

According to the plans, a dedicated left lane going east on Route 22 and a secondary entrance off Vincent Hall Road will be used to access the complex.

Mr. Morrison said such a large development usually means "you are going to have some traffic issues, but studies indicate this will not be the case."

The current Banner Parklet, adjacent to the site of the former pool, will be used for parking and green space for events, he said.

Also addressed was the creek that runs along the back of the property.

"We will have a 25-foot no-build [area] from the creek and another 25 feet of pervious land, which can be used for parking or green space," said Mr. Pollock, adding that negotiations with the DEP and the Westmoreland County Conservation District were fair and "they understood that the previous motel used less of a setback than what we were proposing."

The single-story 1950s-era Blue Spruce Motel and pool were demolished in 2011 with a $50,000 federal Community Development Block Grant.

Blue Spruce Shoppes are scheduled to open in November.

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Laurie Bailey, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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