Plans for P&LE site on table in McKees Rocks
Share with others:
All signs point to quick approval by McKees Rocks council of a project by Trinity Commercial Development to build an 81,000-square-foot, mixed-use, light industrial building on 30 acres of the former Pennsylvania &Lake Erie Railroad yards on Route 51.
Trinity's president Craig Rippole told council members Tuesday night some additional work needs to be done on a traffic improvement study and the stormwater management plan. He said the work will be completed by the end of the month so council members can vote on the overall site plan in November.
Council was expected to approve the site plan Tuesday night. Postponing that vote until next month won't delay the construction schedule, Mr. Rippole said. "It's good to see a young developer helping to move the borough forward," said councilman Bob DiCicco.
The plan, which is expected to create between 600 and 1,200 jobs, has won endorsement from the borough's planning commission.
Mr. Rippole said he could not give an exact number on the jobs that would be created by the project because much will depend on the tenants.
If they are warehouse companies, the number of jobs will be on the lower end of projections. If they are primarily light manufacturing companies, it will be in the middle range. Office space will create the most jobs, he said.
The building can be divided into square foot sections of 10,000 or 20,000 for the tenant's needs.
"We are ready to go full steam ahead. We want the building up by June and expect to have a tenant no later than three months after opening," Mr. Rippole said.
McKees Rocks Mayor Jack Muhr said he believes the site will attract interest because it is an ideal location, offering quick access to Downtown Pittsburgh, Interstate 79, Pittsburgh International Airport and Interstate 376, the Parkway West.
The main entrance to the building is planned for Bradley Street with Churchill Street as secondary access.
New sidewalks also are being planning to encourage foot traffic to and from Island Avenue
"It was absolutely essential that we make the site accessible to pedestrians," said planning commission chairman Taris Vrcek, who wants workers in the building to have easy access to the McKees Rocks business district.
Eventually, plans call for an East Carson Extension link that could divert truck traffic from Chartiers Avenue, he said.
Mr. Rippole also said the site will feature Class A industrial space with amenities such as higher ceilings and loading docks that accommodate larger trucks.
He said there is a need for more Class A light industrial space in the Pittsburgh real estate market, where many of the buildings are older and limited in how they can be developed.
"With this project we can compete with any other community," Mr. Rippole said. "We have a tremendous opportunity to change people's perceptions."
Father Regis Ryan, executive director of Focus on Renewal in McKees Rocks, thanked Mr. Rippole and Trinity Development for persevering in the long planning process that went into developing the former rail yard, which closed in 1992.
"McKees Rocks was a railroad town. Just as the P&LE generated jobs for the community, the new development will accomplish the same thing by bringing in new people and jobs," said Mr. Vrcek, who also is executive director of the McKees Rocks Community Development Corp.
Mr. Vrcek said the development corporation is ready to help potential tenants find employees through its employment training office on Chartiers Avenue.
"This development will create opportunities for residents and for people to move to McKees Rocks," he said.
Railroads will still play a part. Mr. Rippole said one very positive aspect of the plan is the current rail access to the site.
First Published October 11, 2012 4:39 am