Hotel, used-car store to replace cinema in Robinson

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The former Showcase Cinemas West movie theater site in Robinson is being redeveloped into Marriott TownPlace Suites, a 106-room, extended-stay hotel, and Auction Direct USA, a used-vehicle superstore.

"It's going to be a super site," Robinson planning director Rick Urbano said this week.

Construction of the $10 million to $14 million hotel will begin soon and take about a year to complete, said Keith W. Shugerts of Essex Hotel Management in Rochester, N.Y. The hotel will benefit from its proximity to restaurants, shopping and Pittsburgh International Airport, he said.

"This is still a growing area for development," Mr. Shugerts said. "It's a good market for a corporate business."

Auction Direct, also based in Rochester, N.Y., has remodeled the theater building and is preparing to open Jan. 1 with about 600 vehicles, Mr. Urbano said.

Robinson commissioners Monday approved the hotel's site plan and the car dealership's land subdivision plan and revised site plan.

Commissioner Ron Shiwarski abstained from the votes, saying he had given advice to Auction Direct relating to the auto industry in Western Pennsylvania.

Also, the board voted 5-0 to approve a change to the township zoning law that reduces the minimum required lot size for hotels from five acres to three acres.

Showcase Cinemas West closed in April 2010 after 32 years in business, having lost customers to the newly opened Cinemark at Settlers Ridge shopping center, also in Robinson.

In July 2011, Robinson AD, LLC of Pittsford, N.Y., bought the about 10-acre Showcase West parcel and began renovating the theater for Auction Direct.

About three acres of the land recently were separated for the hotel project.

The Marriott extended-stay hotel primarily will host business travelers and other guests staying at least five nights, Mr. Shugerts said. The hotel plans to hire the equivalent of 15 to 20 full-time workers, he said.

Plans include a five-story, 106-room hotel with parking facilities, one new access to Park Manor Drive, and lighting, landscaping and utility work.

Township documents list the hotel plan applicant as Robinson Manor Hotel Group 2689, LLC of Rochester, N.Y., and the owner as Robinson AD. The owner and builder of Auction Direct is Ted Spall, who also heads Spall Realty Corp., a custom home builder sharing an address with Robinson AD. Auction Direct, founded in 2005, has locations in Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Jacksonville, Fla., according to the company website.

The Robinson dealership sits on about seven acres at 301 Park Manor Drive and is above the Parkway West near Robinson Town Centre, The Mall at Robinson and other shopping centers. The hotel site is next-door to the dealership, on a paved lot just west of Robinson Lane.


Andrea Iglar, freelance writer:


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