The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

September 7, 2008

Silver Drive-In owner mulls rezoning, sale

The reopening of the Silver Drive-In in 2005 fulfilled Rick Rosko’s dream of owning a first-class outdoor theater.

But he says the reality of running a seasonal business on prime real estate has prompted him to do some rethinking.

“It’s one of the best drive-ins in the country,” Rosko said. “But in Pennsylvania, you can only operate a couple months a year.

“There is probably better use for that property.”

At least one developer thinks so – and has asked Rosko to look into selling the property for commercial development.

“It’s tough to have something that is only used at night three months of the year,” Rosko said.

He has applied for Richland Township to rezone the entire property for commercial use.

Currently, only a 200-feet-deep strip along Scalp Avenue is in the commercial zone. The remaining 500-plus feet is residential.

Plans submitted by Continental Properties of Menomonee Falls, Wis., show an anchor store and strip mall development on the 8.7-acre site, township Zoning Officer Ben Grush said.

A public hearing will be held at 7:45 p.m. at the township office, 322 Schoolhouse Road.

Rosko stressed he and his partners have not made any decision to sell or develop the property.

“It’s getting further and further away,” Rosko said, noting that the developer has yet to put up any cash.

A check of property records at Cambria County Courthouse shows a potential for profit on the property. Rosko and his partners bought the lot three years ago for $225,000, or $25,900 an acre.

Three vacant commercial properties along nearby Eisenhower Boulevard have sold for an average of $48,000 an acre:

n O.A. Leasing Partnership bought two acres for $100,500 for Ophthalmic Associates’ new office.

n Kidco bought two acres for $101,000 for Pediatric Care Specialists’ office.

n Goodwill Industries of the Conemaugh Valley bought 3.2 acres for $144,350, where it is constructing its new retail facility.

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