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Heartland Homes Reveals Plans for former Highland Country Club

The golf course will be divided into 316 lots, featuring a combination of townhouses and homes.

Heartland Homes President Marty Gillespie revealed the company's plan to develop the former Highland Country Club at an invitation-only meeting Monday morning.

Among the key points of the presentation, according John Schalcosky, President of the Ross Township Historical Society who was present at the meeting:

  • 316 Lots.
  • 120 Luxury townhomes ranging in prices from $180,000 to $240,000 to be built along Gass Road.
  • 132 single family home ranging in price from $350,000 - $500,000 to be built on the remainder of the property.
  • 2 entrances to the plan off of Highland Avenue.
  • 2 entrances to the plan off of Gass Road.
  • 1 entrance to the plan off of Golf Drive.
  • A memorial park named for Ross Township resident Casper Reel.
  • All current structures on the property will be torn down, including club house, restaurant, and pool.
  • Construction expected to begin in June 2013 and last six years.

Our Newsletter subscribers heard this breaking news first.

Among those attending the meeting at the Ross Township commissioner boardroom were Steven Victor, of Victor-Wetzel Associates, and land developer, Dan Caste, developer of the property, Kathy Reid of the North Hills School Board, Dan Hankins, Ross Township Building Code official and Zoning Officer, representatives of all utility companies, the Ross Planning Commission, and various transportation planners & engineers.

Schalcosky was thrilled to learn that a grave marker, indicating the approximate location of the Casper Reel family cemetery, will be relocated to the Casper Reel Memorial Park, which will be located within the development. "We saved Casper Reel's legacy & memorial, this is great news," he said.

What do you think of Heartland Homes' plans? Please share your opinions in the comments box below.

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Computer Jim October 30, 2012 at 02:19 PM
We have hoped that single family homes would be developed at Highland but are disappointed that they are not more affordable. We retired early and would love this location but, for the area, $225,000 - $300,000 seems more reasonable.
Lisa Rizzo October 30, 2012 at 05:01 PM
With the anticipated price tags it would make more sense for people to push a little further North & have a little bit more land. Lots of luck to Heartland in trying to unload these homes after they are built.
west view resident October 30, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I can understand the negative responses to this, but I actually have to agree with Kevin and John in that I think this will be a positive overall for our community with the increased tax revenue and increase in property value for the area.
Mr. Highcliff October 30, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Hey Kevin, do you live near this spot? My guess is not. I have lived there my whole life and very angry to see another green area leave. It would be different if they would keep part of the course and clubhouse but as they say, at least the people that don't live around the perimeter, progress must go on.
Lynn Harvey October 31, 2012 at 12:13 AM
I think this is a great thing for the area, yes, traffic will be heavier and yes, there will probably be some adjustments with the schools, but what a wonderful addition to the area and the tax base. Anything would look better than the way it looks now.
r wanker October 31, 2012 at 11:04 AM
North Hills could use the tax base i agree.But North Hills School District closed a few of their schools a few years ago and sold the property.They have no where to build another school if demand arises.So findin a solution would be a hard one to keep the schools around the new plan from being overcrowded . and price tag of 350K-500K come on.If you can afford that you would move North a little and go to Pine Richland or North Allegheny Schools. They have alot more advantages for the kids with nice updated buildings
James October 31, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Great news for the rest of west view. Now the heroin addicts from bellevue will have nicer homes to burglarize to support their habit.
Consumer Beware October 31, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Not really sure why some people are against this development. Sure there wil be many issues to be dealt with like any other large development but when you think of the alternatives that could possibly have taken place with the purchase of this prime property, I for one am grateful that high end homes will be built in this area. There are so many beautiful homes with tons of character in this area (just look at Wellington Heights) that these new homes will fit in beautifully. Another developer could easily have come in and decided to build government funded housing and then I could see people being in an uproar. I appreciate and truly hope that Heartland will make these once beautiful grounds a terrific development that will quiet the objectors.
John Q. Ross October 31, 2012 at 12:31 PM
It seems Heartland is putting Casper Reel's proverbial cart before the horse. I'm personally in favor of the development, but just because Heartland buys the property and has a meeting doesn't mean it's a done deal. There will be traffic studies, sewer studies, (probably) a law suit or two, approval from the Borough, Township & State, agreements between all Utilities, local opposition, etal... It seems an insurmountable and monumental task to start construction in June of 2013. So while it sounds like a great idea, it ain't a done deal.
Kevin Y. October 31, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Mr. Highcliff: Your guess is wrong. I live only a few blocks from the Highland Country Club. I can understand the disappointment of losing the "green space" but it is not like this was a public park or undeveloped area. It was for most of its existence an exclusive country club. It was truly only enjoyed by the few who lived next to it or could afford the country club fees. r wanker: North Allegheny has nothing over North Hills when it comes to education. Have you seen the newly remodeled elementary schools at Highcliff, Ross and McIntyre? They are nicer than most of the elementary schools in North Allegheny, if that is important to you. And I've noticed plenty of disgruntled NA parents pointing to North Hills as providing better educational environment for their kids, namely smaller class sizes. North Hills has capped classes 25 students while NA has many classes now over 30 kids. Plus they are looking into closing an elementary school because of the dire finances of the district. There is no reason for parents with kids to go further north for better education. While the homes are going to be very high end I think some are overlooking how valuable the location is with its easy access to all the important places people want to go. Some people like a short commute, why drive the extra 15 to 20 minutes twice a day? Heartland Homes knows what they are doing, don't worry about their ability to sell these homes.
NHParent18 October 31, 2012 at 07:47 PM
While I am sure there are much worse things that could be done with that property, I do agree that someone would likely spend $500,000 on a house in Pine Richland or NA before NH. My son goes to NH and I have travelled to other schools for sporting/academic events and they are head and shoulders above NH. While McIntyre and Highcliff are indeed nice, new schools, we still can't compete with NA.
Tom Duncan November 01, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Sickening. I was, sadly, correct in my assessment of "(NO-)Heart-land" Homes as the worst destroyer of greenspace in the North Hills, as cramming 316 lots onto 118 acres clearly illustrates! What a disaster for West View/Ross. What constitutes a "generous" amount of land set aside against such a plan, Mr. Schalcosky? What will be left with FIVE access roads? 132 "homes" is FAR too many for 118 acres, when you take roads, topography and "landscaping" into account, let alone the addition of 120 townhouses as well. That translates, potentially, to 500-800 residents, with cars, lawnmowers, furnaces, AC units all contributing more air- pollution, and 118 less acres of green to absorb it. I say again, "sickening". Nice to know a Ross Commissioner "heart"ily approves, with tax-dollar signs dancing in his eyes: Good luck on re-election, sir. This plan may inject tax revenue into the community, but will its residents prove to be anything more than high-class transients, jumping onto I-279 to shop and hob-nob in Cranberry, or enjoy the sports or nightlife downtown, while using our little community as a launching pad? One hundred houses on this property would be too many--I hope, forlornly, that "our" local government will fight this BAD idea. But I think we all know what wins: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$!
Kevin Y. November 01, 2012 at 01:25 AM
I suppose you are also violently opposed to the existence of West View itself, which borders much of old golf course? West View has a housing density of 5 homes per acre, much higher than the proposed plan for the new development. I work in Pittsburgh, occaisonally attend a Pirates game and have been know to eat at restaurants outside of West View. I didn't realize that qualified me as merely a parasitic transient "resident" of West View...
Chris Colecchia November 01, 2012 at 11:59 AM
The writing is on the wall and no matter what anyone says or feels money talks. The fact that this is supposedly bringing in more taxes to the community is what will be the deciding factor not what people want. Personnally, if they had to do something with that property I think an over 55 community would be great and that would take away the worry of overcrowding the schools. I think the price point for the proposed homes is what out of reach for that area. Remember it is up to our elected officials to make that decision.
Copperfield November 01, 2012 at 07:31 PM
some of these responses are typical yinzer mentality. Too much traffic, too expensive, too many lawn mowers (that was my favorite). And of course, it should be for seniors, as that's what is fast becoming of Allegheny County. People need to realize this is a DESIRABLE location. You can knock 20 minutes off a commute from Franklin Park or Cranberry into downtown. And for all those people in Franklin Park that need to have both spouses working full time jobs in order to pay those huge mortgage, this additional time would be coveted! So you might see some people moving "south". New development is a good thing people, take of the yinzer blinders.
Scott Baret November 03, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Although I no longer live in Pittsburgh, I do have a concern about the traffic this could add to some roadways nearby. Almost every road near this plan is two lanes with almost no potential for widening. This would be a concern if this plan is large enough to add a significant amount of traffic at all times of day. Given the proximity to aforementioned areas such as Franklin Park, there could also be an increase along Rochester Road, which is bad enough in some spots already and would remain a way for motorists to dodge Route 19. I do think it's a good thing that more homes would be coming to this area, although having a park would have also been nice. Ross still has no public swimming pool. When I lived in Perrysville, we went to the YMCA in McCandless (Pine Creek), which was a "gated" pool. Hampton and other communities have a park with a pool, widely utilized by residents for all sorts of purposes. At Hampton Park, for example, the pool offers lessons, open swim with designated adult lap lane areas, and party rental. Passes are available as are one-day fees for those who don't swim as often. With a pool already in place at the Country Club, this could have been an option as well. (It probably would have needed expansion since I recall it being rather small from the few times I visited it).
Lisa Rizz November 05, 2012 at 04:34 AM
I don't understand why everybody is so upset!! This is the best thing that has happened to West View in years! This will bring in huge tax revenue and if you don't think people will buy those homes for 300,000 to 500,000 you're very wrong! Watch and see!
J Koehler November 12, 2012 at 04:28 PM
It is typically short sighted to accept this plan from Heartland. The best (growing) neighborhoods around the country have incentives to lure developers to them, but they also require that the developers do "other" things to improve the community, perhaps even sacrifice a bit up-front in order to provide long-term success for everyone involved. Many that have responded to this and previous articles are worried about traffic, wanted senior housing, wanted more of a "community center" for lack of a better term. I see a lack of vision and creativity in the first offering from Heartland. That is expected from a developer that has no motivation in the property other than monetary profit. Will the town homes and single-family homes benefit the North Hills area? Probably - but it won't be anything significant. Will the golf course, clubhouse, pool, tennis courts, etc. be missed? A lot by some, a little by others, not at all by those that have no interested in the vitality of a community.
J Koehler November 12, 2012 at 04:31 PM
The community leaders that approve of this plan, need to re-visit their own ideals and ask Heartland to re-visit their plans. This could be a win-win situation for Heartland and West View as it stands now it is closer to a tie. I have seen urban planners and community planning boards quarrel with developers in the cities I have lived in (Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Toledo) and the best developments are always the ones that balance the desires of both sides. I would ask Heartland to hire a consultant and provide a new master plan that focuses on a blend of cultural and sociological returns in addition to economical. I am positive that with a little creative thinking the designers could keep the clubhouse, pool, and a modified 9-hole course in addition to the "token" gesture of community park that is currently planned.
Bronx November 27, 2012 at 05:27 PM
I agree with Kevin! AND I DO live in the neighborhood... I live on Bronx. I look forward to the new development and think it will be a great part of the revitalization this little community desparately needs.
gass rd December 06, 2012 at 07:26 PM
I live on gass rd and people already fly by at 45 mph. now congestion will be added to the mix. The only way I would be willing to accept this new housing development is if half of the burden was accepted by rochester and lowries run. In other words start digging over the hill and put a road in.
Cornell January 07, 2013 at 07:09 PM
I am only concerned about traffic -- especially around rush hour the traffic from 279 to 19 is already very heavy and there are long waits at the intersection light. This development will make it worse. And I surely don't want to see another light get installed!!
lover of GREEN SPACE February 17, 2013 at 06:22 PM
I think it looks fine the way it is?? Does everything have to look prefect and landscaped???? We need GREEN SPACE... It could stay wild and overgrown forever!!! have y ever walked over there on any given day!!! It will be a sad day in W. V. when they start tearing up that land over there!!! I hope there are Ghost over there!!! I prayer every day that God will let us keep this BEAUTIFUL land for our kids to enjoy!!!
lover of GREEN SPACE February 17, 2013 at 06:44 PM
I agree if they must build!! and i know eventually they will! heartland shpuld focus on a blend of what the communty needs as well as economic returns if this project!! it would calm a lot fear about this devlopment1
A CONCERNED RESIDENT AND PARENT May 22, 2013 at 05:19 PM
In my personal opinion i think that ross township should work with the historical society and the gov. to try and get a preservation land grant to buy the property from heartland to make it a ross community park and event center.We don,t need any more homes built when there are so many homes being foreclosed on now and besides that maybe with something in the community to do parents could finally get their kids out of the house and away from computers and video games.
James May 22, 2013 at 07:33 PM
Way to much traffic for gass rd.
James May 22, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Get ready for the noise, dirt and the truck traffic. I live off of gass rd but the people that live on gass rd and highland their houses we be dusty and dirty for six years. And don't forget all the wild animals will set up shop at your house. I walked the grounds today and saw two snakes, groundhogs, turkeys and two coyotes. Now this will be highland park zoo where have I heard that before?
Kevin May 22, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Concerned Resident the township doesn't want any part of owning HCC . If they did they woulda bought it in the first place
Kevin May 22, 2013 at 08:11 PM
They come over here they will be shot
Stacie July 03, 2013 at 10:20 PM
My best advice if you are thinking of building with Heartland is to Stay Away! I wish there was a way to give them zero stars: Moved into our home in November of 2012. It is now June 2013 and we are still fighting with them to complete the project. Because of improper installation, they have already had to tear up our basement floor. Our basement door has been "fixed" multiple times, but still continues to leak. The flooring company has had to come out no less than four times to fix mistakes in the hardwood flooring installation and have had to pull up carpeting to fix crooked flooring underneath. We have also had to have holes filled in our driveway already due to erosion. By far, the worst issue we have experienced is with our yard. Simply stated, it is still a mud pit and continues to flood. We have no grass, just mud....paired with empty promises from Heartland that they will eventually fix it. I have never seen a company so excited to take your money and then have absolutely no customer service. We are currently on project manager #2, who blames all of the mistakes on the one that was supposedly fired. Sadly, many of the subcontractors have said that they were surprised that we have had only two project managers throughout this project so far. We have been told most people have 3-4. Yesterday, I spent three hours off of work to take one of my dogs to the emergency vet. Apparently, he had consumed stagnant water from our backyard (our flooding backyard) and he picked up a pretty bad parasite, which can not only be passed to our other dogs, but to other people! $375 later, he is doing much better. No one at this company will return calls. If you are considering building with Heartland, you should first check out their ratings on BBB. I wish we would have done the same. Please feel free to contact me at stacieklishis@gmail.com if you need to see pictures or need more information.

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