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Report: Penguins May Walk Away from Planned Sports Complex in Cranberry

Team officials say they may look for a site elsewhere if they cannot reach a consensus with Cranberry on design plans for the complex.

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.

Albert October 19, 2012 at 02:39 PM
C'mon Cranberry Twp! Don't screw this up! This could be a great thing for the area!
PVS October 19, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Do NOT lose this opportunity. I know people at UPMC who have ALREADY been approached to discuss training and injury prevention at the proposed facility. If the Cranberry Supervisors screw this one up, they are shooting themselves in the foot.
Squiggy October 19, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Really? More Walgreens and banks are the "right fit". Awkwardly placed strip malls and traffic that is a nightmare is okay, but they're not sure about one thing that would be totally awesome instead? Pfft, they'll probably just build another hotel, bank and starbucks.
John October 19, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Then they can stop by MangoBean for their gourmet coffee on the way out! And FroYo on the way home!
karen turley October 19, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Thats a shame. Cranberry doesn't need more malls and parking lots. This would be so good for the kids here and such a great opportunity for all of us. Why do the people in charge keep changing the zoning anyway? Soon Cranberry will be all malls and ugly concrete but will still have nothing for people to do in the cold weather. What more hotels and stores do we really need? Too many are empty now for way too long! Make this happen!
Cilissa October 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Leave it to the township to mess this GREAT opportunity up. They screwed around too long with SIMON mall and made them pull out. We don't need nor want anymore strip malls or mixed use spaces! Give the kids and families something to do locally and not have to drive 30 minutes for! Cranberry, you need to listen to the taxpayers and what they want, not what you want!
Bruce October 20, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Seriously Cranberry? What is wrong with this picturre? You have a chance to land the Penquins here and you are giving them a hard time? I agree with the comment above about SIMON's. You cost a lot of jobs and a big revenue opportunity. Let's get your act together and do whatever it takes to bring a part of the burgh to Cranberry.
CIAO October 20, 2012 at 07:23 PM
The official acting employee's of the sustainability focused non-citizen focused Township are once again acting like twits and acting too big for the reality of Cranberry. CREDCO is one more example of overreaching government. Maybe another Pizza or chain can offer better tree and exterior regulations. re-try, Built for you...by our sensitivities. Lets Go Pens, Not Let the Pens Go!
Hockey Dad October 23, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Mr. Andree, and Cranberry Officials; You have no idea what a tremendous opportunity this facility poses for your community and the businesses you have already approved and placed in the area. I encourage you to speak to other communities who are currently hosting similar facilities for other NHL teams and their Youth Programs not just in the US but Canada as well. This facility will open the Cranberry area up to exposure throughout the Midwest and mid-Atlantic region hosting tournaments and hockey showcases for the most elite of youth hockey in the nation and Canada. The spillover in economic benefits and enhancement of Cranberry as a leading community for balanced residential and commercial development would be tremendous. These types of choices only come along once! Do the right thing.
CIAO October 23, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Latrobe, PA (Westmoreland County) had the chance for the Pro Football Hall of Fame to be located in their community. They did not pull off the proposal, thus Canton, OH gets the bragging rights and economic benefit and key attraction to that area, re-writing the birthplace of pro football forever. Please Mr. Andree and Cranberry employees say: Lets Go Pens! rather then Let the Pens Go!
SgtStugats October 25, 2012 at 04:32 PM
If they screw this up, they should start looking for new jobs! We have one chance at something like this. People will not forget if it goes wrong because of"trifle" matters in an economy like we have now !

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