The former Ascot Imported Cars site on Walnut Street in Sewickley could become a new, mixed-use venture to include office buildings, retail space, a parking garage, a theater and perhaps housing.
Developer Thorn-Walnut Management LLC purchased the lots in June from First Commonwealth Bank, which had acquired them in a sheriff's sale earlier this year. The luxury car dealership had closed in October 2010.
Demolition, which already has begun near the corner of Walnut and Thorn streets, could be completed within two weeks, said Peter Friday, president of Forbes Trail Development Co., project manager.
The developer is willing to sell part of the property to the borough for a parking garage, Mr. Friday said. No price has been set, but "basically we aren't looking to make a profit on the sale of the grounds," Mr. Friday said.
A parking analysis for the site has been completed, said Councilman Stan Ference. "We are now getting a feel for how large the site is," he said.
In addition, the developer will donate the air rights on part of the property to the nonprofit Village Theater Co. "If we are able to build a public parking garage, we are going to allow the theater to sit on top of the garage," Mr. Friday said. "Air rights are an opportunity to build above the ground."
The nonprofit Village Theater Co. has raised $500,000 toward the cost of building a two-screen theater there, the first in the borough in more than 30 years.
Phase I of the project should begin in the next few months, with a three-story office building on Thorn Street.
"We hope to have a shovel on the ground in December," Mr. Friday said.
Shellie Petri Budzeak, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.