UPMC Northwest ready to buy former QS Innovation Center building
The Derrick, 10/31/01 By JUDITH O. ETZEL

A special thank you goes out to The Derrick for allowing this article to be posted


A vacant Cranberry Township building is poised to become part of the $65 million UPMC Northwest hospital project.

There is a deal pending to sell the former Quaker State Innovation Center along Route 257 to UPMC Northwest to house various hospital support functions. Those typically would be billing, accounting, payroll, maintenance and purchasing operations.

The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the year, according to both Northwest Health System and Houston-based Pennzoil-Quaker State Co., which owns the property. Neither the buyer nor the seller would reveal the purchase price.

The building, empty since March 1999, was put on the market 18 months ago for $595,000. A group of private investors initially appeared interested in buying the property, but a deal never materialized. Some time later, Cranberry Area School District eyed the property for use as an administrative office and storage facility, but that effort also fizzled.

UPMC Northwest and Pennzoil-Quaker State have reportedly been negotiating the sale for several weeks. The purchase agreement will be finalized once various property studies, including standard environmental tests, are completed.

The pending acquisition of the former oil company property marks the first physical extension of the much anticipated hospital building project not too far away along Route 257.

The formal merger of Pittsburgh-based UPMC and Northwest Health System next month will launch the construction of a new 110-bed hospital on a 144-acre tract just off Route 257. Last month, hospital officials said they had acquired an additional 21 acres adjacent to a 123-acre parcel the health facility already owned.

While the bulk of the UPMC Northwest health services will be in the new hospital, some will be relegated to the former Quaker State building as well as two other sites, the Rowe Building in Oil City and the West Unit at Franklin. Those services could include rehabilitation, administration, accounting and other non-medical departments

Hospital officials say plans are still very tentative and could change as the final touches are put on the main building outline.

Meanwhile, Northwest's hospitals in Oil City and Franklin will remain open and functioning until the new hospital is completed. Construction is expected to take three years.