Woodland Hills mulls leasing offices so senior apartments can be built
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The Woodland Hills school board saw a presentation last week about a planned senior citizen apartment complex on the site of the current administrative offices in Churchill, as well as what the offices would look like if the board opted to lease space in a new office complex on the site of the former UPMC Braddock hospital.
Trek Development Group and the Rothschild Doyno Collaborative presented the board with three possible configurations for senior citizen apartments on the Greensburg Pike property, similar to a presentation they gave to Churchill council Jan. 8.
The basic plan would include 48 units of one- and two-bedroom senior housing, a community plaza and nearly 80 parking spaces. The second possibility would include more housing units, and the third would include facilities providing nursing home-level care for seniors.
Both the school board and council have concerns about the redevelopment, though they welcome the idea of adding the Churchill and Braddock complexes to the tax rolls; the current administrative offices and the hospital were tax-exempt.
School board members questioned whether the building could be used by Churchill.
Churchill council President Robert Ferry said the borough "welcomes the idea of adding value to the tax base," though council does have some concerns about the redevelopment.
The school board and Churchill council also questioned if the district could afford the $142,500 in annual rent after the money from the sale of the Churchill building -- expected to be $625,000 -- is gone.
Ken Doyno of Rothschild Doyno noted that the building in Braddock will come with lower utility costs. Plus, the rent check will be going to Trek, which will be giving money back to the district in the form of property taxes. The landlord will also handle operating and maintenance costs, he said.
Alan Johnson, the district's acting superintendent, noted that a feasibility study of all district buildings showed that to renovate the existing administrative building would cost no less than $2 million and possibly as much as $5 million. He said the renovation costs would ultimately be more costly than paying rent.
Board member Tara Reis also questioned the desirability of the location of the housing for seniors, noting the site is adjacent to Woodland Hills High School and the Pace School, a private school that serves special needs students.
Mr. Doyno assured officials that he would work with the schools' officials to ensure the schools and the new housing mesh well together.
The school board was scheduled to vote on a sales agreement with Trek Wednesday evening, which is past press time for this edition. Details can be found today at www.post-gazette.com and in next week's East Xtra.
First Published January 17, 2013 6:20 am