Three new commercial spaces --- including a new restaurant in the city's East End --- have been given the go-ahead by McKeesport City Council.
At Wednesday's meeting, council by 6-0 vote approved recommendations from the city planning commission to approve the new restaurant on East Fifth Avenue and a site plan for a new office building on Walnut Street in the Third Ward, as well as a request to consolidate several lots at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Market Street, Downtown.
The identity of the new fast food restaurant's operator is a mystery.
The site plan filed by Wilkins Holdings LLC specifies a 2,800-square-foot drive-through restaurant. Burger King's Pennsylvania franchise holder is expanding in the Pittsburgh area, and has recently built several 2,800-square-foot restaurants in Butler County, according to published reports, as well as a new restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh.
However, the Tampa, Fla., based Rally's fast food chain is also planning a major return to the Pittsburgh area, according to KDKA-TV, and rumors have circulated about a possible move into the Mon Valley by the Sonic drive-in chain.
City officials, including Mayor Mike Cherepko and community development director A.J. Tedesco Jr., said Wednesday they have been asked to keep the name of the restaurant confidential, and they would not confirm guesses as to the restaurant's identity.
The restaurant would be located on a vacant lot between an existing Family Dollar and the Route 148 Car Wash. The plans are subject to approval by Allegheny County and the state Department of Transportation, city officials said.
The lots at the southeast corner of Fifth and Market have been vacant since a disastrous fire in 1976 that destroyed Kadar's Men's Wear, the Famous Department Store and other businesses, and forced the permanent closure of the former Memorial Theater.
Local business owner Jonathan Stark told Tube City Almanac in May that he is working with several possible tenants on plans for a commercial building at that corner.
The site plan approved for a vacant lot at 929 Walnut St., not far from the McKeesport post office, allows KCA Demolition of Duquesne to build a fence on the property, but it stops short of allowing the company to build the office building it desires.
Before the building can proceed, KCA has until Nov. 14 to comply with additional requirements laid out by the city's Redevelopment Authority, according to documents filed with city council.
The planning commission is also requiring KCA to put "privacy slats" in the fence to block construction equipment from public view. The neighborhood is zoned for commercial use.
Also Wednesday, council approved by 6-0 vote a request from the Regional Industrial Development Corp. to subdivide a 3.7 acre parcel, formerly used by the McKeesport Connecting Railroad at the old U.S. Steel National Works site, into two parcels.
The parcels consist of abandoned railroad rights-of-way, according to Allegheny County property records.
Councilman Tim Brown was absent from Wednesday's meeting.
Originally published June 06, 2018.