Happy New Year. Happy new project.
Phase I of Park Place at the Meadowlands should open “around the first of the year,” said David Biafora of Metro Property Management, developer of the mixed-use project on 44 acres in North and South Strabane townships. The first phase will feature business offices, retail and other uses on land east of Route 19 near Racetrack Road.
Metro Property Management, owned by Biafora’s family, is based in Morgantown, W.Va., as is Accelerated Construction Services, which is doing construction of the entire project.
Biafora said the first building to go up “is 90 percent full” with tenants and “we’re negotiating a bunch of leases” for two other structures in Phase I, which covers 14 acres.
BFS Foods – a convenience store chain also headquartered in Morgantown – will make its Washington County debut during this opening. “We call this a superstore,” said Hayley Graham, director of marketing for BFS.
She said the 7,500-square-foot store will include a touch-free car wash, Dairy Queen Grill & Chill, Little Caesars Pizza and Tim Hortons, a Canadian chain of casual restaurants. This will be the first Tim Hortons in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Those businesses will be in South Strabane, near the Route 19 entrance to the project. DQ has placed a sign there seeking job applicants.
Most of the project, however, will be in North Stabane – a creek on the property, over which a bridge has been constructed, separates the townships.
North Strabane has approved permits for a 200-plus unit townhouse complex/fitness center. “I’m not sure that will begin this year,” said Doug Trbovich, township building inspector. “Infrastructure work has started.”
Park Place is projected to cost $25 million to $30 million.
Speaking of North Strabane . . .
The Holiday Inn Express project, off Racetrack Road and behind Burger King, is advancing. “Framing has been completed,” Trbovich said. “They know (wintry) weather is coming and they’re hoping to get the roof on before Thanksgiving (so interior work can proceed).”
He anticipates a mid-2014 opening.
The short-stay hotel, just inside the entrance to Meadowlands Business Park, will feature 87 rooms and few frills at a modest cost.
Construction began in mid-December 2012, but was halted in early February when workers hit a void in the ground while drilling for the foundation. The cause of the void remains undetermined, although the business park was built atop old mine sites.
Double J Development of Morgantown, W.Va., is in charge of the project.
Old Mill rising
A stream of activity continues with the Old Mill retail complex. Prospective tenants are talking and steel continues to go up where the ill-fated Foundry was undermined by land subsidence more than five years ago.
Andy Boyd, however, is not naming names of interested retailers and restaurant chains.
“We’re very close on five or six tenants, but I can’t announce them,” said Boyd, senior asset manager for Staenberg Group, a shopping center developer in charge of the project. “We’re working on 10 or 15 (tenants) from specialty retail to restaurants.”
Work is accelerating behind the Olive Garden and Max & Erma’s restaurants, the only businesses on the site off Route 19 in South Strabane Township. Max & Erma’s, J.C. Penney, Bed Bath & Beyond and Ross Dress-for-Less began operations at the Foundry about six years ago, before subsidence damage forced the three retailers to leave in 2008.
Boyd is optimistic about the new incarnation of this land. “With the buildings going up like this,” he said, “we expect to have significant announcements by the end of the year.”
WM employees honored
Mike Ardeno and Don Leonard not only have worked for Waste Management Inc. for 30 years, they have done so without injury or accident. Three decades without a scrape to body or truck in an industry that is prone to both.
They were honored for their efficiency early Halloween morning at WM’s Washington Hauling site in Arden. Ardeno, of Washington, and Leonard, a Claysville resident, are categorized as helpers who assist drivers as they service residential routes.
“Mike and Don exemplify the work ethic we would like to see in all of our employees,” said Rich Mogan, Washington Hauling’s district manager. “Their work is steady and consistent, which contributes greatly to our success at this site.”
Thirteen others – drivers and helpers – were recognized for being accident- and injury-free for either five or 10 years.
Washington Health System is a quality achiever again.
For the third consecutive year, WHS is a recipient of an American Heart Association quality achievement award. This one is “Get With The Guidelines – Stroke Gold Plus.”
The hospital was honored for its “commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted guidelines.”