South Fayette officials considering UPMC hospital proposal
South Fayette Township commissioners plan to vote during their April 19 on whether to approve a UPMC hospital as part of the Newbury plan.
At the April 12 board meeting, representatives of Newbury and South Fayette residents expressed their hopes and concerns for the project.
“The wish is to create a full-class medical center in South Fayette,” Brett Malky, president of Newbury, told the Board.
“Health care in the South Hills is a very under-served market.”
Malky cited the closures of large retailers like Target and Macy’s for the change in direction at Newbury, a mixed-use development that was planned to include residential, commercial and office space.
“It’s been a long and hard struggle,” Malky told the commissioners about development of the project. “We believe, and we hope you’ll agree, that our patience has been rewarded.”
The hospital building, which will sit on a roughly 16-acre parcel along Presto Sygan Road, would include inpatient and outpatient services, an emergency room, an intensive care unit and, potentially, a helicopter pad for patient transport. Hospitals in Pennsylvania are not taxable, however outpatient services, like primary care offices and physical therapy services, would be.
“Our proposal would likely include a request for a helipad,” said Roger Altmeyer, director of community project development for UPMC.
Beyond the likely helipad request and a comparison to the UPMC East facility in Monroeville, Altmeyer didn’t have any more concrete details regarding the size, function and taxability of the proposed medical center. Any plans for the building would be developed after the board approves the conditional use plan required for a hospital.
“We’re essentially writing a blank check,” said Nick Rodi, whose wife, Gwen, is a commissioner.
Hank Moore, who lives in the Newbury development, believes that with the addition of a hospital, the vision of Newbury Market has been compromised and said that the South Hills is not in need of another hospital.
“The only reason I think they’re here is to drive St. Clair (Hospital) out of business,” he said.
Chip Davis, another South Fayette resident, echoed his concerns, pointing out the nearby St. Clair and Canonsburg hospitals.
“What we were promised at Newbury was basically a town center,” Davis said.
John Tigue, a Newbury resident, doesn’t see the addition of a hospital as the end to that town center. He believes the proposed medical facility would bring jobs, other business and young people to South Fayette.
The other proposed anchor of Newbury Market, Top Golf, intends to do just that. The three-level driving range facility would house 102 bays set up with soft couches, televisions, and food and beverage service. This deviates from Newbury’s approved site plan as well, and will require a vote by the commissioners next week as well.
A public hearing for the conditional use plan at 7 p.m. April 19, during which residents are invited to air their concerns, will precede next week’s vote by commissioners.
“We’re sort of a quieter community,” said board of commissioners President Joseph Horowitz. “All of this development obviously comes with a tradeoff.”