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The new owner of a building next to McKeesport's Olympia Shopping Center said last night he's excited about redeveloping the former site of Jim Shorkey Ford.
"My father had a restaurant in McKeesport many years ago,” said Spiro Pappan, son of former restauranteur Lou Pappan, who founded Pappan's Family Restaurants, in a prepared statement. “When I told him about my project here, he was very excited. He plans to be here for the opening.”
A company led by Spiro Pappan purchased the former Jim Shorkey Ford on Walnut Street for $1.9 million and is renovating the building for Ollie's Bargain Outlet and two other new tenants. The Ollie's store, which will take up about 32,000-square-feet, will be the first in Allegheny County and is expected to open in March 2017.
Pappan's building, which once housed a Zayre Department Store and later an Ames, is on a separate parcel from the rest of the Olympia Shopping Center, which is technically located in Versailles Borough.
The rest of the center is operated by Pittsburgh's Union Real Estate and includes a Shop 'n Save, a Save-a-Lot, a state wine and spirits store, a dry cleaner, a PNC Bank branch, a Dollar Tree and other retailers.
“That location is a shopping hub for this whole region," Spiro Pappan said. “I love this area, and my tenants love this area."
McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said Ollie’s --- a fast-expanding discount department store chain, based in Harrisburg --- is a "great addition" to the Walnut Street corridor.
“Christy Park is an up-and-coming business district in McKeesport,” he said. “This area is one of our main focal points in terms of commercial development. People from McKeesport and neighboring communities travel this corridor and patronize its businesses on a daily basis, and Ollie’s will be a great addition to their selection.”
Ollie's nearest locations to McKeesport are near Greensburg and Belle Vernon, and the stores --- with their selection of liquidated brand-name housewares, books and hardware --- have developed a passionate following.
McKeesport Community Development Director A.J. Tedesco said the city "fought hard" to get Ollie's into the city.
“This is the type of business we want to attract to McKeesport," he said. “Ollie’s is a popular department store that hasn’t made it into Allegheny County until now. We are pleased that Ollie’s has selected McKeesport, and we are proud to have them here.”
Pappan said the limited partnership that owns the former Zayre/Shorkey building, called Byzantine of Pennsylvania, is looking for one more tenant for a 10,000-square-foot storefront that will accompany Ollie's in the building.
Tedesco said the city will "continue to work closely with Mr. Pappan" to help him market the building and attract another retailer to the site.
Originally published September 15, 2016.