Hobby Lobby coming to Old Mill shopping center

January 2, 2014
The Old Mill development is beginning to take shape as construction progresses behind the Olive Garden along Route 19 in South Strabane Township. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

An established arts and crafts chain will be coming to the Old Mill, and a fledgling outdoors store may be on the verge.

Hobby Lobby has signed a lease for a 55,000-square-foot space, according to Sam Adler, a leasing representative for The Staenberg Group, the shopping center developer overseeing the retail project being erected.

TSG says on its website, tsgproperties.com, that a Field & Stream concept store also will be going into the South Strabane Township site, formerly and infamously known as The Foundry. Adler, however, said he could not comment on any potential tenants that have not signed leases.

Only Hobby Lobby has done so, but Adler added that some may be signed by the end of next week.

The Observer-Reporter reported Thursday that a third new business, LongHorn Steakhouse, may be headed to the 104-acre project off the southbound lanes of Route 19.

A legal notice in Tuesday’s edition of the newspaper said RARE Hospitality International Inc. has applied for an intermunicipal transfer of a restaurant liquor license. The South Strabane supervisors will have a public hearing on the application at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at the municipal building, 550 Washington Road.

RARE is a subsidiary of Darden Restaurants, the Orlando, Fla.-based owner of LongHorn Restaurants.

Erica Ettori, communications manager for LongHorn, said Thursday, “We are negotiating a contract on a site in Washington, but still have a great deal of due diligence to complete.”

Hobby Lobby is a privately held company headquartered in Oklahoma City. It says on its website, hobbylobby.com, that it sells “arts and crafts supplies, fabrics, baskets, silk flowers, needlework, picture framing, party supplies, furniture and related items.”

Chief executive officer David Green founded the company in 1972. It has more than 580 stores nationwide, including one in Robinson Township.

Randy Betts, senior vice president of store operations, said in an email that construction is scheduled to begin in April and an October opening is planned.

“We are excited to finally bring Hobby Lobby to Washington,” Betts said. And the “finally” is appropriate. Hobby Lobby had planned to open a store in the original Foundry in 2007.

Betts said the local store is expected to employ 35 to 45, with pay rates of $14 an hour for full-time employees and $9.50 an hour for part-timers.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, based in Findlay Township, launched its Field & Stream store brand in 2013. The first opened Aug. 16 in Cranberry Township, Butler County, followed by one in Crescent Springs, Ky. More are expected this year.

Officials at Dick’s could not be reached for comment Thursday.

An update on four Staenberg projects in Pennsylvania includes this summary at tsgproperties.com: “Anchored by the exciting new Field and Stream concept and a 55,000 sq. ft. Hobby Lobby, the Old Mill brings a new destination retail development to one of the fastest growing markets in Western Pennsylvania.”

Old Mill developers hope it will be a successful successor to The Foundry, a retail endeavor that was mostly scuttled because of land subsidence in 2008.

J.C. Penney was the first business to move into The Foundry in March 2007, and Max & Erma’s restaurant, Bed Bath & Beyond and Ross Dress-for-Less followed. But by mid-2008, only the restaurant continued to operate there. Penney’s returned to its Washington Mall site, where it remains today.

Olive Garden opened next to Max & Erma’s in December 2012. They are the only existing businesses on the site, near the front of the property, an area unaffected by shifting ground.

If it does locate there, LongHorn would be in one of two outparcels being built to the right of Max & Erma’s restaurant – as viewed from Route 19.

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won seven individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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