New sports complex takes step forward
January 16, 2013
CRANBERRY TWP — Plans for a new UPMC and Pittsburgh Penguins sports performance complex took another small step forward last week when revised conceptual drawings for the Village at Cranberry Woods were presented Jan. 7 to the township planning advisory commission. The revised plans included the UPMC/Penguins complex along with revised plans for the housing, retail and office plans. Ron Henshaw, Cranberry’s director of community development, said, “We’ve seen drawings in the past, but this was the first time the commission got to review them.” He explained the revisions to the original master plan are extensive and are in all areas of the development. An official land development application could be under review by the planning advisory commission by next month. The multi-phased project with the 130,000-square-foot sports facility has an arena area, Penguins offices and another 49,000 square-feet of medical offices, said Henshaw. The rest of the Village of Cranberry Woods master plan changes included two hotels, apartments, townhouses and retail space. The township supervisors in March 2010 approved the original master plan. Those plans called for a combination of retail, office, entertainment and residential development on the 55 acres, but most of those have been reduced with the addition of the sports and medical complex. The first phase of the development, which is the recently completed Hilton Garden Hotel, is now open. But because of the extensive changes with the sports complex and other components of the plan, the master plan was resubmitted by the developers, explained Henshaw. The facility has been described by hospital officials as similar to the UPMC sports complex on the Southside of Pittsburgh, which has been used by both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the University of Pittsburgh. UPMC and the Pittsburgh Penguins had first announced in June that such a venture was being considered for Cranberry. “We hope it will be a destination facility for hockey-related performance and injuries, but we will continue to treat the strains, sprains and concussions” of athletes in other sports, too, said Albert Wright, who oversees UPMC’s sports medicine efforts, in June. “It will be the first of its kind in the United States dedicated primarily to hockey,” Penguins Chief Executive Officer David Morehouse has said. UPMC officials also have said the new center would expand its programs to diagnose and treat concussions. UPMC will build and own the center, but the Penguins would lease the rink and related facilities. The property is owned by Cranberry development Don Rodgers and the Creative Real Estate Co. When the Penguins aren’t using the ice for practice, training camp or other team-related programs, it would be available for youth and school hockey programs, and other community events.