The long-awaited plans for a new movie theater for the North Hills advanced Monday night with the approval by McCandless council for a 12-screen, all-digital Cinemark theater on the east side of the McCandless Crossing retail development on McKnight Road.
Plans also were approved for 53 residential units also on the east side of McKnight.
Bob McGurk, project manager for AdVenture Development, LLC, the eastern North Carolina development company that owns McCandless Crossing's 130 acres, said that construction on the movie theater likely will start in spring and the theater open late next year.
Cinemark also has theaters at Settlers Ridge in Robinson, Pittsburgh Mills in Frazer and Center Township Market Place in Beaver County. Details of the theater have not been announced.
Rave Pittsburgh North 11, a few miles north of McCandless Crossing, is for sale on 34 acres in the 9700 block of McKnight. The former Showcase Cinemas North opened 33 years ago. The site has 1,280 parking spaces and 22 handicapped-designated spaces and has been used as a popular Port Authority park-n-ride lot.
Bruce Betty, McCandless land use administrator, said the town will have no say in whether the park-n-ride lot remains after the property is sold.
Developer Frank Zappala of the Pittsburgh-based First City Co., said Monday the townhouses will be built, marketed and sold by Heartland Homes.
"We're very excited about this project, and we've had a tremendous amount of interest," he said, noting that there's a long waiting list.
Featuring the Town Center project, the nearly 50-acre tract of land on the east side of Cumberland and McKnight Roads will also include a variety of businesses, a grocery store, a hotel, up to 10 restaurants, a bookstore, an office complex and a child-care facility in addition to the movie theater and townhomes.
Construction on the west side of McCandless Crossing already is well under way on the new Doodle Bugs! Children's Center and 119-room Home2 Suites Hotel by Hilton. The site already is occupied by Lowe's, IHOP and several other businesses.
Also during the meeting, Manager Tobias Cordek presented the township's $15.5 million budget for 2013.
Mr. Cordek said the town has maintained the same 1.5-mill real estate tax rate that it has had for the past decade, but after property assessment appeals, the township could be looking at a lower millage rate of between 1.15 and 1.2 mills.
"Our millage will go down, because assessed property values in total went up about 30 percent," Mr. Cordek explained. "However, more than 1,000 appeals were filed, which could result in eroding that increase in assessed value. We'll make a determination (on the millage rate) in December during budget adoption."
The proposed budget is approximately $1 million less than last year's budget, but Mr. Cordek noted that earned income tax revenue for the township, which accounts for 40 percent of its overall revenue, remains roughly the same as last year, about $5.1 million.
Mr. Cordek stated that the town's largest expenditure is the overall safety budget, which includes police, fire, building inspection and zoning at a cost of $6.1 million. The budget could be adopted Dec. 17.
In other business, a request regarding a liquor license transfer to Giant Eagle's 8080 McKnight Road location in the Pine Creek shopping center was denied by council when representatives from Giant Eagle failed to show up in time for the public hearing. The transfer was from a facility in Brackenridge.
Jill Cueni-Cohen, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.