For many months we have been reporting that Giant Eagle was in the process of purchasing property across the street from the shul. Well, things are finally happening. On Friday, October 31, they completed the property closings. Last Monday, Borough Council approved the “vacation” of a portion of Williams Street that runs through the middle of the property. And yesterday, the demolition crew started razing buildings.
What does this mean for us? Firstly, it means some parking concerns that we will need to address. The parking lot directly across from the shul had belonged to the Fulton family. About 40 years Al Fulton, who owned the Buick dealership on Main St., had given us permission to use his lot on Saturday mornings indefinitely. Fulton Buick is now long closed. Al’s son Pete owned the property in recent years. Now it belongs to Giant Eagle. In that parking lot there will soon be a convenience store. Certainly, when they open we will approach the manager about using some spaces on Saturday mornings. But in the meantime we will need to use what we can. There are generally about 6 spaces on the street near the shul. And I have spoken with the manager of CVS. She has given us permission to use available spaces in the farthest row from the store (the row next to Lydia Street). That should take care of our normal Saturday morning minyan. But we will also be talking with the new owners of the Xytec building (the glass and aluminum office building on Lydia Street just past the shul). That company is called Heyl & Patterson. They purchased the building earlier this year.
The good news is that this vacant property will now be renovated and be an asset to our community. The long term viability of our congregation depends on us being in a healthy neighborhood. Having a new GetGo across the street will bring some new life to the area, just as the CVS did.