The site of the former Star City Cinemas in South Fayette contains contamination and will be cleaned up before a potential buyer moves forward with plans for a hotel and offices on the property.
The Star City parcel, at the Interstate 79 and Route 50 interchange near Washington Pike, was once a part of the former Mulach Steel Corp. site.
South Fayette Hotel Associates LP is slated to buy the land from the township for $5 million. The company recently submitted a remedial investigation report to the state Department of Environmental Protection citing contamination on the property.
“They are going to clean up the site. They are required to,” township manager Ryan Eggleston said of South Fayette Hotel Associates. “The DEP will be the ultimate guide over what needs to be remediated there.”
South Fayette Hotel Associates published a legal notice Jan. 12 in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that states, “… The report identifies areas of the site with soil and groundwater impacted by polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons and arsenic. The proposed future use of the property will be a combination of residential and nonresidential. A combination of the statewide health standard and the site-specific standard will be applied to the identified impacts and the proposed remediation will be elimination of potential exposure pathways through activity and use limitations …”
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences website, many polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons compounds are both toxic and carcinogenic: "This contamination results from almost all combustion processes, specific wood treatments, and the use of organic pesticides.”
The township commissioners in October agreed to extend the sales agreement deadline from Nov. 9, 2016, to March 9, 2017, after South Fayette Hotel Associates, a division of Horizon Properties, asked for more time to resolve possible environmental issues.
“The timeline may slow down, but the township is optimistic the sale will move forward at a slower pace,” Mr. Eggleston said.
Responsibility of costs incurred with cleanup still have to be determined.
“I don’t know how that will shake out,” Mr. Eggleston said. “That is a discussion that the township and Horizon will have to have.”
The township’s plan to demolish the Star City Cinema Theater will not be delayed. “We can move forward, because we are not going below the grade, where there are issues,” Mr. Eggleston said.
South Fayette Hotel Associates LP was originally responsible for the demolition of the structure, but township commissioners unanimously awarded a contract in October to Ritenour & Sons Construction Co. Inc. to demolish the property for about $227,500.
Mr. Eggleston said the cost incurred by the township to demolish the property will either be paid back or credited to the township when the final details of the sale are settled.
“The two costs could balance each other out,” he said.
South Fayette Hotel Associates could not be reached for comment. Horizon will continue to have exclusive purchase rights during the time of the sales extension.
Amy Philips-Haller, freelance writer: email@example.com.