HAMPTON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — The change that is evident along the Route 8 corridor in Hampton Township is no accident.
“We are very blessed in the last 24 months to have significant development,” says Hampton Township Manager Christopher Lochner. “There’s a significant mini-renaissance going on on Route 8.”
Before sunrise on Wednesday, people will be lining up outside the new Primanti Bros., which opens at 9 a.m.
“The first 100 people get a coupon book for a free sandwich each week for a year,” says General Manager Candice Craig.
She says Primanti Bros. is excited about its new location.
“We have one in Harmar and Cranberry, and what we really want to do is be in the middle of that so we can get Gibsonia, Shaler, Hampton and bring a little slaw into their life,” she said.
While Primanti Bros. renovated and expanded a former Wendy’s restaurant, a brand new building will house Route 8’s Starbucks when it opens in a couple weeks. A new Dunkin Donuts is up and going further north of 8; and across the street, an announcement is expected soon about a new occupant for the old Max and Erma’s site.
All of this made possible, Lochner says, by UPMC’s construction of a 41,000-square foot medical facility at Route 8 and Mt. Royal Boulevard.
“UPMC will put 200 people in its facility.” Lochner says. “And when you have that, you develop a lunch crowd, which Hampton today doesn’t have.”
But the transformation of Hampton’s stretch of Route 8 is not just about food.
The Hampton Home Center has filled the void left by Sears, Dollar Tree is up and going, Guardian Storage has a brand-new, expansive facility about to open its doors, and a new auto parts store is nearing completion.
There’s also a former hotel transforming into a strip shop and apartments, and more plans in the works elsewhere.
All of this brought about by Hampton Township’s decision to aggressively pursue a rebirth.
Lochner says, “We’ve made some change in our ordinances and we’re working with the developers as best we can.”
Hampton is also working with PennDOT to try and solve the issue of traffic all this rebirth will bring.
Most of Hampton Township’s part of Route 8 is four-lanes wide without the possibility of expansion to include a turning lane. So the township is looking into “adjusting the traffic signal system up and down the corridor,” says Lochner.
PennDOT says a smart-traffic system like those that have helped the flow of traffic in Murrysville and Wexford is in the design phase for Route 8.
It will involve 23 traffic signals from Etna to Richland Township through Shaler, Hampton and Richland. Installation of the system will begin next year and should be in operation in 2019.