SF discusses Star City property

Published Aug 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm (Updated Aug 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm)

After a discussion Aug. 14 regarding what to do with proceeds from the sale of a portion of the Star City property to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, South Fayette commissioners agreed to have a public meeting to discuss the future of the former theater building.

Although no date was set for the meeting, a decision regarding what to do with the building was brought up by township manager Ryan Eggleston as an item to be discussed as part of the township’s strategic plan.

In February 2009, the South Fayette Board of Commissioners voted to purchase the former Star City theater property for $5 million. The building encompasses 85,000 square feet and sits on about 15 acres along Route 50 and Hickory Grade Road. The property was later divided into several parcels of which one was recently sold to UPMC for $1.65 million. Back in 2009, the appraised value for the property was about $10 million.

Commissioner Joe Horowitz said at the meeting that there are several options for the site, such as remediation and the possibility of selling it.

“We have no real knowledge of what the property could be sold for,” he said. He added, “I know we don’t have the money to build the civic center that was envisioned by the previous board.” He said more information is needed on the item.

“I’m assuming people don’t want their taxes raised to build a civic center,” Horowitz said. “We’re not sure how people are feeling one way or another,” on the matter, he added.

Prior to the regular workshop meeting, a public hearing was held regarding the township’s 2009 bond and the sale of the portion of property to UPMC.

Wayne Gerhold, the township’s bond council, said a portion of the 2009 bond was used to purchase the Star City property. He said the township still has about $7.2 million of the 2009 bond outstanding and those bonds have a call date of June 2014.

UPMC purchased 2.6 acres of that property for $1.65 million to build a children’s medical facility. Gerhold said of that amount, $647,539 is attributed to the 2009 bond.

Gerhold said the township has several options as to what to do with the proceeds from the sale. He said the funds could be put into the township’s general fund, or put into a sinking fund that could be used to pay the debt service on the bond. Gerhold said the township currently pays about $550,000 a year on debt service. In addition, Gerhold said the township could also use the proceeds for capital projects, but the $647,539 would have to be spent within one year.

Resident John Alan Kosky said during the public hearing, “I’m just curious on how the board is planning on spending that money.” He said he would like the public to have an opportunity to comment after they know how the board plans on spending the funds.

Stacy Kosky added that she thought “The best accounting principal is to leave the money in the account,” and use it to pay debt service on the bond. She added that by the end of the year the township will have already paid $1.5 million into the bonds.

“Any profit we made, we already paid in interest,” Stacy Kosky said, adding that putting the money into a sinking fund is the best idea.

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