By Bill Vidonic
Published: Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
A proposed development that would showcase a sports complex for the Pittsburgh Penguins also features office, retail and hotel space, according to a presentation to Cranberry’s Planning Advisory Commission.
“I think it completes that quadrant of the township,” said township community development Director Ron Henshaw of the Cranberry Springs project at the northeastern corner of Route 288 and Interstate 79. “It’s a very important piece of property to the township and the developer.”
In July, UPMC and the Penguins withdrew plans for a sports medicine complex at the 57-acre Cranberry Woods development along Route 228. They instead chose property about a half-mile north, owned by developer Gary Sippel. That property had once been considered for a shopping mall.
Henshaw said the 190,000-square-foot building would house offices for UPMC, offices for the Penguins and two ice rinks. It would be the first of a five-stage development of the property. UPMC would build the $70 million complex, and the Penguins would lease most of it.
Development plans show that other components, as introduced to the advisory commission last week, include six buildings with 875,000 square feet of office space; two buildings with 16,200 square feet of retail space; 30,000 square feet of restaurant space; and a 100-room hotel.
The project also features a roundabout, or traffic circle, and would connect with extensions of Mackenzie Way and Cranberry Springs Drive.
It also could feature a “fly-under,” or road under Route 228, that connects the Cranberry Woods office park to the Cranberry Springs project, which are on opposite sides of Route 228.
Henshaw said that funding issues and timing of construction of the underpass would be worked out later, as developers are concentrating on the UPMC/Pens project first.
“It’s very important to the overall traffic patterns and traffic mitigation for the project,” Henshaw said.
UPMC and the Pens said earlier they hoped to have the facility open in 2015.
Developers will have to gain approval from the Planning Advisory Commission and township supervisors before proceeding.
The advisory commission could vote as early as its Oct. 7 meeting.
If developers secure approval for the overall use of the land, they would have to return to both boards for approval of individual parts of the development, with the first being the UPMC/Pens project.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.