Kathie Tanyer looks at the Colony Holding commercial developments ongoing in North Huntingdon and hopes something similar can be replicated at the old Monsour Medical Center property in Jeannette.
The local resident wants city officials to press developer Don Tarosky Jr. on his plans for redevelopment at the Route 30 property, which has sat empty since 2017 following a $2 million demolition project. Council members this week said they have tried to meet with Tarosky but have been unsuccessful.
Tarosky told the Tribune-Review that plans could be brought to the city in 2022. He pointed to the global pandemic and local zoning issues as reasons for the delay.
“Despite having a number of political and economic hurdles, we’re gaining traction to present something again in the near future,” he said, declining to comment further.
A $2.1 million sales agreement for the 6.4-acre property, which once was home to the Monsour Medical Center, was approved in September 2017 between Colony Holding and the Westmoreland County Land Bank. Shortly after, Tarosky proposed building a gas station there, which led to a back-and-forth vote over zoning at the property as newly-elected council members joined the group in January 2018.
In a late December 2017 decision, council approved an amendment to the zoning ordinance that would have allowed a gas station — a decision that went against a planning commission recommendation. Days later, new board members set in motion a reversal of that decision. Tarosky then removed Colony Holding signs from the property.
The sale was finalized in August 2019 after a judge granted permission to close a 50-foot section of vacant land that once was used as a road. Colony Holding since returned its signs.
The Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. in 2017 finished a $2 million demolition project there funded by local and state dollars. Demolition started in February 2016, drawing dozens of onlookers as the iconic nine-story cylindrical tower came to the ground. It had been a landmark at the city’s entrance since 1971.
The land bank bought the former Monsour property in 2014 at a judicial sale for about $15,000 after the hospital and adjoining buildings were left vacant. The medical center closed in 2006 after a series of failed state inspections.