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Deal Collapses To Preserve Pristine Land In Richland Twp.

RICHLAND TOWNSHIP (KDKA) -- For years it was an eyesore in Richland Township, rusting greenhouses on the site of the former Pittsburgh Cut Flowers.

Then, the Allegheny Land Trust offered to purchase and preserve the land.

"This piece of property is at the headwaters of the Pine Creek watershed," the Trust's CEO Chris Beichner told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday. "It's beautiful, pristine streams and ponds, woodlands and meadows, and our intentions were to keep it as it is."

Last October, Beichner was joined by elected officials who delivered a half million dollars in state money, as remediation efforts paid by the owner cleared the site. But now the future is uncertain.

The owner's original purchase price was $1.2 million. The Allegheny Land Trust raised that money.

But then, this year, the owners raised the price to $2.4 million. The Trust raised that money again.

And then, last week, the plug was pulled.

The owner, Legacy Landings, now owned by investors in New York City say they are not interested in selling, says Beichner.

"Very disappointing. Very frustrating. This is one of our most complex projects that we've worked on in the last 20 years. Negotiating with the property owner has been pretty frustrating," said Beichner.

No comment from Legacy Landings on what might go up on the site instead, but Beichner thinks it could include drilling rigs.

"I know they have been pursuing Marcellus Shale drilling on this property as a potential," said Beichner. "I know they're developers from New York City. I know they potentially want to develop the property, too."

But as for leaving the property in its natural state, that's unlikely, although the Trust is hopeful.

"We hope they'll come back to us because we want to work with them," said Beichner.

Allegheny Land Trust Working To Restore Old Flower Nursery Site Back To Its Glory Days (10/24/13)
More Richland Township News
More Reports by Jon Delano

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