Construction crew members are at work on the new First National Bank site at Kennedy Center.
By Jamie Wiggan
Kennedy Township will soon be able to boast of a new bank, eatery, auto-parts store and apartment complex as construction ramps up at the Kennedy Center.
O’Reilly Auto Parts, First National Bank and a Taco Bell are being built along McKees Rocks Road and will join Giant Eagle, Northwest Bank, Bob’s Diner, Angelia’s, Rockefellers and others in the shopping district. Behind the center on a stretch of a hillside overlooking the Chartiers Creek, construction of a large apartment complex is also set to start in the fall.
“I’m really proud of all the people wanting to come into Kennedy,” said Mel Weinstein, Kennedy’s interim manager.
While as a whole Allegheny County’s population has steadily declined since the 1960s, Kennedy Township has maintained stable, modest growth during that time according to census data.
The construction projects are in full swing despite the sector having taken a hit since the onset of the pandemic in March. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Services show 3,500 Pittsburgh-area construction jobs disappeared between June 2019–20.
Nationally, the fallout has been more severe. The United States Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (which includes data from apartment buildings) dropped by 18 points between the first and second quarters of 2020.
Weinstein confirmed that the O’Reilly Auto Parts store is under construction at the site opposite the Clearview Federal Credit Union. Adjacent to the shuttered Rita’s Italian Ice, he said work is underway to construct a new home for the First National Bank, currently on Pine Hollow Road.
The disused frozen treat stand will soon be bulldozed to make room for a Taco Bell franchise, Weinstein added.
On the far side of the shopping center, the apartment development set to begin in the fall months is a second local enterprise of A&R Builders, Ltd., which also built nearby Kennedy Highland Apartments.
Weinstein said the plans are for a multi-story condominium-style setting, with 120 units available to residents of all ages.