After concerns raised by Cranberry regarding site layout and design, Pittsburgh Penguins officials said they could shift plans for a cutting-edge performance center and practice rink in Cranberry to another location.
Travis Williams, chief operating officer for the Penguins, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the team is open to looking elsewhere if officials cannot come to a consensus with Cranberry on plans for the complex. After meeting with Cranberry officials earlier this week, Williams said the team would continue to work with the township on the project—for now.
“However, until you have absolutely all the approvals that you need, and until you have the deal completed, you’re always keeping your eyes and ears open for other sites in case it doesn’t work,” he told the Trib.
The proposed 150,000-square-foot complex would be located in the Cranberry Woods business park off bustling Route 228—near the newly-opened Hilton Garden Inn—and offer hockey-related training and injury treatment and prevention. It would be owned and operated by UPMC.
Penguins spokesman Tom McMillan has said the facility would be similar in nature to the UPMC sports performance complex on Pittsburgh's South Side, which is used by the Steelers and the University of Pittsburgh and includes sports medicine, practice and training facilities
When the ice surface isn't available at the Consol Energy Center, McMillan said the Penguins would use the new rink—and the community would be welcome there too.
Plans for the complex include development camps for Penguins hockey prospects, skating classes, public skating session and other programs geared towards teaching youngsters how to play hockey, McMillan has said. The team-sponsored Pittsburgh Penguins Elite youth hockey program also would be based at the rink.
Cranberry Manager Jerry Andree said the township has been meeting with UPMC officials about the project since June.
"We're constantly in dialogue," he said. "It’s a challenging project because they’re trying to deal with an already approved master plan. That’s been the issue we're dealing with."
Developer Don Rodger, of Creative Real Estate Development in Cranberry, currently owns the property for the complex’s proposed location. Dubbed The Summit of Cranberry Woods, the property originally was approved by Cranberry officials to be a combination of retail, office and residential development.
Andree said it has been difficult to get the complex to fit into the perimeters of that mixed-use zoning because the sports complex carves out a large portion of the property.
"They can tweek it, but it has to meet the ordinance," he said.
The Trib reports UPMC has a sales agreement in place to buy about 35 acres from Rodgers, but hasn’t purchased the land and is likely to delay until the township approves the plans.
Check back with Cranberry Patch for updates to this article.