UPMC pulls plug on new hospital in South Fayette

September 22, 2017
Newbury Market in South Fayette

UPMC pulled the plug on its plans to build a $211 million hospital that was supposed to be the anchor tenant at Newbury Market in South Fayette, and the health-care provider will now search for a new site to build.

South Fayette Township officials learned of the decision late this week, although they do not know the reasons behind the change.

“We were really surprised and disappointed it happened so suddenly,” said Andrea Iglar, the township’s community development director.

She said although the decision is between UPMC and the site developer at Newbury, the township still had invested its time listening to public comment on the project before granting conditional-use approval for the site Aug. 9. The township had been preparing to review a preliminary land-development plan as the next step in the process.

“The township spent six months considering this project and listening to public opinions, often which was contentious,” Iglar said. “There’s a general feeling of disappointment that UPMC abruptly withdrew their plan.”

UPMC spokeswoman Gloria Kreps did not give a reason why the health-care provider scrapped the plans at Newbury so late in the process, other than to say it was “pursuing other, more significant strategic options in care.”

“We will soon announce more specific plans of a sophisticated set of facilities to better serve our patients,” Kreps said.

Brett Malky, president of Newbury Development Associates, could not be reached for comment Friday.

UPMC had planned to build a 280,000-square-foot, 90-bed hospital at the vacant lot near the Bridgeville interchange at Route 50 that would have included both outpatient and inpatient services. Only the outpatient portion, about 15 percent of the proposed hospital’s size, would have been taxable, drawing complaints from residents concerned that the anchor tenant of the development would be mostly untaxed.

However, there were also significant economic benefits expected for the South Hills.

An economic analysis performed by a Pittsburgh-based consulting firm Fourth Economy expected the operation to produce $52.3 million in labor income and $111.8 million in economic output. The hospital would have served 56,000 patients a year and employed about 570 workers between both centers.

With the hospital now off the table, Iglar said the township is ready to work with the developer to “attract another taxable and reliable business” to Newbury, which has been in the planning stages for more than a decade as a mixed-use property that includes homes and businesses.

“Ultimately, this is the developer’s plan,” Iglar said. “It’s up to them to secure another tenant. However, South Fayette will do what it can to support economic development and to attract businesses to the township.”

Mike Jones has been a news reporter since 2005, covering crime, state and municipal government, education and energy. In addition to working at the Observer-Reporter, he also has spent time at the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail and Patch.com. He holds a journalism degree from West Virginia University.

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