ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — In the heart of the business district of McKnight Road in Ross Township and McCandless, there is an oasis of land unblemished by development. But the days of Bambi and family roaming freely through the rolling woods is about to come to an end.
A developer has big plans for the 13-acre woods which is now in the hands of Allegheny County Council. Developer Herky Pollock’s Regional Development Partners were the high bidder for the undeveloped portion of the Kane Regional Center in Ross Township. County council has to approve the $1.25 million deal.
Ross Township Commissioner Stephen Korbel says the chunk of McKnight Road facing land is in demand.
“As a result of the Block Northway development, it has spurred interest in this property for something that would be complimentary development,” he said.
Specifically businesses that have been unable to get into The Block are looking to locate somewhere close by, and the Kane property is right across the street.
“It’s my understanding the developer is looking at a mixed use development,” says Commissioner Korbel. “So there will be retail restaurants, perhaps a hotel or apartment or townhomes, something of that nature.”
That would be very good news for Ross Township.
“As a community that is built out as Ross Township is, these kinds of developments allow us to broaden our tax base and keep our property taxes low,” he said.
Steve Lukasik lives on a street very close to the proposed site, and is pleased with the idea: “It would be great to have more retail. Obviously, it would help from a tax base standpoint.”
As for increased traffic, he says: “We live off of McKnight Road. We’re used to traffic. It’s not the end of the world to have a little bit more traffic here.”
An ordinance was introduced to County Council on Wednesday night to sell nine acres next to Kane to a developer for $1.25 million.
Council’s economic development committee will take up the issue of the land sale.
Some do worry about added cars on the roads. “It’s kind a of hectic with all the traffic,” said Tom Frazier of McCandless. “I really think they need to find elsewhere to do that.”
But others who live nearby, think the pluses outweigh the minuses.
“More places to shop. More opportunities for jobs. People need jobs,” said Mary Anne Hegleson of McCandless. “I welcome it. I don’t have a problem with it. Maybe it’ll lower our taxes.”
The land the county is selling (if county council approves) will be from the Kane parking lots to McKnight Road and will not impact any of the Kane Center buildings.
Allegheny County Council could approve the sale before Christmas, which would allow construction to start next year. Businesses would start opening in 2018.