The public hearing for the renovation and expansion of the former Boscov's building at the South Hills Village Mall was continued to June 6.
Representatives from Simon Property Group, owner of the mall, presented their plans to the board of commissioners on Monday night. Simon Property is proposing to expand the lower level of the existing building and turn it into a Target. The Dick's Sporting Goods located behind the mall would move into the top two floors. Project manager Michael Takacs said it would be most similar to the Dick's Sporting Goods that is attached to The Mall at Robinson.
Representatives said if the project is approved in June, they would hope to begin construction by the end of summer and have it completed in 12 to 18 months.
"There is a lot of work to do," said Scott Richardson, of Simon Property Group.
The representatives said they have been working closely with township staff since January on the current plans and received a recommendation from the planning commission in March.
However, the Simon Property Group is requesting some modifications.
The first, a modification on the parking ratio. Representatives are asking a change from one parking spot per 200 square feet of stores to one parking spot per 250 square feet of stores.
The township's traffic engineering company used an aircraft to fly over the mall on two Saturdays in January and used calculations to determine the mall needed one parking spot per 250 square feet of stores at its 20th busiest hour.
"Our studies show the mall is overparked," Takacs said. "I'm not talking about Black Friday. But the study shows it would still end up having adequate parking."
The plan eliminates 559 parking spaces. Some due to the expansion of the lower level for the Target store. Others because of the change from angled parking spots to 90-degree parking spaces.
"The spaces going away are in areas that aren't usually used," Richardson said. "Yes we are asking for a reduction, but no we wouldn't want it to cause less customers."
Representatives also asked for the board to allow eight pairs of traditional Target cart corrals. They said the traditional aluminum-framed corrals are easier to move to high traffic areas and less likely to be damaged than a more permanent, concrete structure.
"It will change the character of the parking lot," warned Scott Brilhart, Director of Community Development. Brilhart said he would still like to see the applicant propose an alternative.
Other modifications include no evergreen hedge between the parking lot and the residential area across Washington Road, due to the steep slope and proposed parking lot landscaping.
Also, no screening of the trash compactors. Representatives said the the topography and landscaping will naturally screen the area.
Lastly, representatives said they are adding missing links to sidewalks, including a sidewalk from Jared the Gallery of Jewelry and a sidewalk from the Port Authority Garage to Macy's, but are requesting no sidewalk from Washington Road.
"Other sidewalks adequately meets the needs of pedestrians," Takacs said. "Plus, the sidewalk would have to be against a retaining wall and extremely narrow."
In addition, reconfiguration of the Macy's parking lot in front of the Port Authority Garage and two future outparcels at the end of the top parking lot near Jared the Gallery of Jewelry are included in the application.
"There is no planned used for the outparcels," Richardson said. "We heard there was a want for more sit-down restaurants, so this could make that possible in the future."
There were no public comments made at Monday's meeting. The public hearing will continue on June 6 and the commissioners could vote on the plan following the hearing.