City Guide: Best of the 'Burbs
City-centric? Here’s a compass to lead you on a journey to some happening suburban communities — north, south, east and west.
(page 6 of 6)
Parents sending their kids to South Fayette High School may find themselves jealous of the idyllic campus.
Along the growing airport corridor in the western suburbs, South Fayette is undergoing a building boom. Luxurious single-family homes dot the hills close to the Hickory Heights Golf Club, near the intersection of Route 50 and I-79.
This formerly rural area offers a commodity that’s hard to find in inner-ring communities: new residential construction. One of the region’s most ambitious new developments, Newbury Market, has broken ground along Presto-Sygan Road, reclaiming an old industrial site as a New Urbanist community that promotes walkable streets, shared open space and a variety of price points.
Newbury Market is redeveloping 300 acres of a site formerly used by the industrial-chemical firm Koppers. Planning and site remediation took more than five years, says Brett Malky, a South Fayette resident and president of EQA Landmark, the managing-partner firm for the development.
Construction and the retail and commercial businesses created within the new community are expected to bring 2,000 new jobs to the area, which combines traditional features like front porches and sidewalks with shared open space, walking and biking trails, and even a sledding hill. In the first phase of the project, 200 homes will be for sale along with 240 rentals. “We have properties from the twos ($200,000) to the one-point-twos ($1.2 million),” says Malky.
Shailesh Bokil, who purchased a home in the Forest Ridge section of the township three years ago, says young families are attracted by the reputation of the South Fayette School District.
“The schools are brand-new, and the primary and middle schools are Blue Ribbon schools,” he notes, referring to national recognition of the district’s middle school (in 2006) and its elementary school (in 2010). “There’s lots of open space, big backyards, a lot of farmland.”
Bokil, who travels worldwide as director of recruiting for Computer Enterprises International in Scott Township, appreciates the 15-minute travel time to Pittsburgh International Airport. His wife, Sangeeta, is equally close to her office in Bayer USA’s Robinson Township headquarters.
South Fayette also draws workers from Southpointe, a new headquarters hub for the region’s Marcellus Shale extraction industry, along I-79. More than 100,000 commuters pass the area daily. Those commuting to downtown Pittsburgh can take advantage of the Port Authority’s Park and Ride lot on Route 50 for a 20-minute bus commute to the city.
Christine H. O’Toole is a longtime Pittsburgh magazine contributor who lives in Mt. Lebanon, a South Hills “streetcar suburb.”