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November 5, 2012

The following elected officials were present: K. Brannon; M. Cheberenchick; D. Swisher; M. Warhold; D. Baumgarten. Council Members N. Kovach, V. Smith, J. O’Malley and Tax Collector S. Torris were absent. The following appointed officials were present: T. Hartswick, Borough Manager; D. Biondo, Solicitor; M. Kunig, Junior Council Member. Police Chief K. Truver and Codes Official P. Vietmeier were absent.

Mr. Warhold opened the public comment section of the meeting of the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan for the Shannon Transit Village. Being none; the public comment section was closed.

Mr. Warhold introduced Mr. Maurice Strul, Assistant Director of Project Finance & Special Projects for the County of Allegheny’s Department of Economic Development. Mr. Strul presented a summary of the Shannon Transit Village TIF. The proposed project is expected to feature 128 apartment units housed in an eight story building above approximately 14,000 square feet of retail space at the Port Authority Park-and-Ride lot in Castle Shannon.

Mr. Warhold also introduced Mr. James Aiello, Sr. and Mr. James Aiello Jr. of JRA Development, and Ms. Heather Schultz of Allegheny County DCED.

Mr. Swisher questioned the length of the construction phase. Mr. Strul answered construction is anticipated to take 18 to 24 months during which the Port Authority Park-and-Ride will be closed. The start date will be spring of 2013.

Ms. Brannon stated that the Ice Castle parking lot will remain open. Mr. Strul added that commuters will be directed to park at the South Hills Village parking garage.

Mayor Baumgarten reported that this project began eleven years ago, and asked if the county’s currently property value assessment would remain stable. Mr. Strul stated that the assessment will fluctuate based on county re-assessment requirements.

Mr. Warhold read the following statement verbatim into the minutes:
“Before requesting action on Resolution 582 regarding our participation in the Shannon Station Tax Increment Financing Plan I would like to make a few comments for the Record.

TOD’s are common in many other cities across the country-In the metro area of Washington D.C., Cleveland, Denver, San Francisco, NYC, Philadelphia and many other metropolitan areas. This will be the first development of this magnitude in Western Pennsylvania and has been long overdue.

For those of us here and in the audience who are unfamiliar with some of the terms used tonight let me say that a TOD is short for Transit Oriented Development – in simple terms linking public transportation with more compact mixed use development both residential and commercial with easy access to some type of public transit, in this case the Port Authority LRT.

TIF - Tax Increment Financing - is an economic development tool which designates a certain amount of (in this case) real estate tax revenue to be allocated to a project and applied to project costs for a specified amount of time.

The total TIF requested is approximately $3 million which is about 8% of the total project cost of $36,889,891. All the numbers being presented this evening are from the TIF plan developer.

It is important to clarify that currently this parcel is owned by the Port Authority and thus is tax exempt. If this project is not undertaken, Castle Shannon Borough, Keystone Oaks School District and the county will receive no tax dollars.

There are many benefits that will accrue to all the taxing bodies during the construction phase, lease-up phase and operational phase of the Shannon Station Development.

During the construction phase -The Shannon Station will create over 250 direct and indirect jobs producing a total payroll of over $11 million. These employees will frequent our shops, bars, restaurants and other local establishments. Thus this “boom” will have a considerable economic impact for our small business community.

During the lease up period and operational phase of the TIF: Allegheny County will receive $18,358; Castle Shannon Borough $30,328; and Keystone Oaks $71,076 in real estate taxes alone. Further, after the expiration of the TIF, these numbers will increase to Allegheny County $115,965, Castle Shannon $232,424 and Keystone Oaks $544,712

We have been advised over the years by real estate professionals that the addition of 128 upscale apartments will provide a needed boost to local businesses in the downtown Castle Shannon business district and also Lebanon Shops. Additionally this will provide a needed linkage between these two commercial districts.

The extent of benefits to the various taxing bodies participating in this plan is extensive, and the ancillary benefits are also extremely high. We are very proud to have the first transit village building in Allegheny County.”
Mr. Warhold thanked the development team for their work on this project and requested that Mr. Hartswick read Resolution #582. Mr. Hartswick presented the resolution. Mr. Warhold requested a roll call vote: Ms. Brannon – yes; Mr. Cheberenchick – yes; Mr. Swisher – yes; Mr. Warhold – yes. The resolution passed unanimously. The next step for the project development will be presentation of the TIF to the Keystone Oaks School Board for their participation and Allegheny County Council to approve participation and to create the TIF district.


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