There is a trend across the retail industry to move away from large enclosed malls and towards so-called outdoor “lifestyle centers,” like The Waterfront in Homestead.

Now, a major development underway in the North Hills is aiming to keep shoppers outside and there’s more on the way.

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They call it a soft opening or a quiet start, but news of a new addition to the already busy McKnight Road corridor spread quickly.

“They got good prices so far, and I like the location,” Judy Schmetz from the North Hills said.

The Lowe’s store is the first tenant of McCandless Crossing.

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Developer Bob McGurk is used to challenges. He helped build up the busy Robinson and North Fayette retail districts.

“It’s been a 15-year process of the assemblage of all of the tracts of land and under construction for 13 months, and we’re finally open,” he said.

Parts of McKnight and Cumberland Roads were widened for the project, and work is already underway on several new tenants.

“We have a future LA Fitness, the hotel and the lifestyle center coming in the future,” added McGurk.

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The plans are to take up both sides of McKnight, as well as along Duncan Avenue – just beyond the busy Ross Park and McIntyre Square corridors.