Halted Walgreens Development Costing CV Taxpayers Thousands in Revenue

The removal of the Shoppes on Bower Hill has wiped out thousands of property tax dollars from the Scott Township and Chartiers Valley School District coffers.

Nearly a year has passed since demolition crews ripped down the former Shoppes on Bower Hill and the plans to build a new Walgreens or any retail business at the site seem to have fizzled.

There still are chain-linked fences around piles of rubble where the popular strip mall once stood, and the area has become an eyesore and parking nightmare for people who work at St. Clair Hospital and the rehab center, bank, orthopedic doctor and medical services building.

Scott Township leaders don’t know why the project isn’t moving forward and Walgreens no longer seems to have any interest in building anything on the location at Bower Hill and North Wren.

“We don’t know what’s going on,” Scott Township Manager Denise Fitzgerald said. “I’m very frustrated.”

To add to that frustration, the removal of the strip mall has wiped out thousands of building property tax dollars from the municipal and Chartiers Valley School District coffers.

The property should bring about $30,000 a year in township taxes and $115,000 for the school district. Instead, the land taxes and remaining building are estimated to only be bringing in less than $50,000 combined. 

“That always affects the bottom line because they did get a reduction in the amount of real estate they’re paying,” Fitzgerald said. “We would love for them to build something, but we can’t force them.”

Fitzgerald said that Bob Fisher, who is the township’s code enforcement officer, has contacted them to see if they need anything to get the project rolling. Each time, they’ve declined, Fitzgerald said.

However, the township is now sending them a notice that they need to repair the damaged fence and clean up the rubble.

“We have sent them a notice to clean up the site,” Fitzgerald said. “But that still doesn’t solve the bigger problem of getting it back on the tax rolls as being a viable business.”

Neither Walgreens officials nor Bowen Development, which owns the site, could be reached for comment on the situation.

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clint eastwood October 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM
This is such a waste of a place for small businesses. Before you let the big companies come in an rip down bld why didn't you make sure there was contracts signs covering problems like this. Someone dropped the ball , and sounds like we need to boycott walgreens since they don't care about our community
Angela October 11, 2012 at 12:23 PM
My family and my neighbors surrounding this abandoned project are appauled by the developer's lack of integrity to enforce Walgreens to build or restore the former center. And shame on Scott Twp for not being more diligent earlier in the process to protect tax income and ensure that avaiable green space is restored to our community!
Stacey M Waffensmith October 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM
St Clair Hospital parking?? Yeah that parking is for the businesses that still reside in that lot, like PNC Bank, Tuckers office etc. I know several people who have gotten flat tires from that parking lot. I always disliked Walgreens anyway. Had one bad experience and I will never go back. Rite Aid is fine with me.
angry tax payer October 11, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Walgreens is a joke! They are nothing but a big name store who think they can take over. The company is ran but a bunch of money power hungry spineless jerks. They treat their employees like crap. Their healthcare they offer takes half of the employees paycheck. I have to agree with Clint Eastwood, where was the contract so this didn't happen? Why couldn't they have allowed small business take over? I also agree with Stacey, parking would be great! This whole thing is a messed up situation.
Susan October 12, 2012 at 01:20 AM
My opinion is that Walgreens has sprung up in the local area in the last few years because they were thinking they would be able to sell alcohol like they do in places such as Florida. I think they bought that location with the hopes they would have a foothold in the area, but the alcohol laws did not pan out how they hope so there's no reason to hurry up and build their store.
Louis Pietragallo October 24, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I live in Cedarhurst and I am absolutely disgusted by the whole thing shame on ALL involved
Dan Gerson November 16, 2012 at 06:36 PM
As a Cederhurst resident who remembers the booming days of small businesses flourishing in that mall, I too am disgusted that all that remains is a barren, undeveloped wasteland. The parking lot has recently been repaved, but I don't know if that portends upcoming development. Not that I or many residents ever wanted a Walgreens up the street, anyway. The "Walmartization" of America, having claimed our little strip mall, has visited its pox upon our homes. We've lost our small businesses, local jobs, our tax base, and all we're left with is a chain linked fenced off mud pit.
Mike Jones (Editor) November 16, 2012 at 07:07 PM
@Dan... I completely agree with your sentiment. I wrote this column last October when they began tearing down the strip mall. That shopping center had everything and it's a shame it's been replaced by rubble... http://chartiersvalley.patch.com/articles/bower-hill-shoppes-finally-coming-down


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