MCCANDLESS TOWNSHIP, PA. — Yesterday saw the groundbreaking for one of the largest mixed-use projects in Pittsburgh in recent memory. McCandless Crossing will be located on approximately 130 acres on McKnight Road in the northern Pittsburgh suburb of McCandless Township.

“[The site] is the last remaining parcel of land on McKnight Road, which is the major retail corridor in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh,” says Kevin Dougherty, president of Selma, N.C.-based AdVenture Development, the developer of McCandless Crossing.

This location along a prime retail corridor means that the project will contain plenty of retail space — approximately 500,000 square feet based on current plans. The retail space will be joined by 200,000 square feet of office space, two hotels with a total of more than 200 rooms and 300 to 500 residential units. But retail is not the only draw of this corridor. McCandless Crossing is situated adjacent to UPMC Passavant Hospital, which is undergoing a $190 million expansion. Other nearby draws include LaRoche College and the approximately 400,000-square-foot Pittsburgh Office & Research Park.

The project will be constructed in phases over the next 3 to 5 years. Some tenants have already signed at the center, including Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse and Fidelity Bank, both of which are expected to open in fall 2010. Development will begin on the northwest quadrant of McKnight Road and Duncan Avenue, which will contain the Lowe's, several outparcels and multi-tenant buildings. This side of McKnight also is expected to contain a fitness center, medical/professional office space, a hotel and restaurants. Phase II, which will be built on the east side of McKnight Road, will be a town center-style project. Initial plans include a grocery store, a movie theater, a bookstore, the other hotel, retail and residential. Trumbull Corp. is serving as the site contractor for the project.

While a mixed-use project of this size would seem risky in current economic times, Dougherty is not deterred. “Pittsburgh is not participating in this recession the way the rest of the world is. It is a healthy, solid market right now.”

— Coleman Wood

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