Healthcare: Port Authority revives plans to build medical offices

By Jon Schmitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Port Authority is hoping to resuscitate plans for a medical office building on property it owns near South Hills Village.

A board committee on Wednesday approved exclusive negotiations with Florida-based DASCO Cos. LLC for a 6.4-acre parcel next to the authority’s parking garage across from the shopping mall.

The site was a park-n-ride lot before the garage opened.

The authority in 2007 signed a 99-year lease with Lauth Property Group of Indianapolis for a $25 million medical-professional office building that the company would build and operate. After Federal Transit Administration approval, construction was slated to begin in fall 2009.

The authority touted the project as an example of transit-oriented development that it wants to promote throughout its system to generate new revenue and ridership. The deal was expected to raise about $8 million.

But last July, the company notified the authority that it was invoking a clause allowing it to escape the agreement. Authority officials believe they can negotiate a similar deal with DASCO, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Kathleen Huff, DASCO’s vice president for marketing, declined to comment on Wednesday.

The company’s website says that since 1987, it has developed more than 3.5 million square feet of medical facilities worth more than $750 million and acquired almost 1.5 million square feet of medical office buildings and outpatient facilities valued at more than $250 million.

Michael Cetra, the authority’s director of legal and corporate services, told the Performance Oversight Committee that the value of the deal could match or exceed what was negotiated with Lauth.

The two parties have six months to reach a deal.

[post-gazette.com]

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