Add special features to Bloomfield GetGo, leaders say

| Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008

If Giant Eagle agrees, it could make a new version of a GetGo gasoline/food station in Bloomfield a prototype for its future gas station/convenience stores, some community leaders believe.

The supermarket chain already has briefed community groups about plans to revamp its GetGo at Moorewood Street and Baum Boulevard, a site across the street from a planned University of Pittsburgh Medical Center research center that is expected to employ hundreds.

But neighborhood representatives want Giant Eagle to add a few extra touches in addition to the cafe-style seating, free wireless Internet service and extra gas pumps the company already is planning there.

"The Baum-Centre corridor has the potential to be one of the prime real estate areas in the city, and to get another every day gas station is not the answer for this site," said Rob Pfaffmann, a local architect.

"We have a higher level of expectation for the land use in this area," said Pfaffmann, who was among several community representatives who expressed concerns about plans for the project at a meeting last week of the Baum Centre Initiative.

Among changes some members of the Baum-Centre Initiative would like to see incorporated are canopy designs, more on-site greenery, lighting that doesn't cause glare on nearby buildings or for motorists, and a station that reflects the history of the neighborhood, such as the Auto Row that existed on Baum.

Pfaffmann said Giant Eagle might want to consider such features for future store designs.

Giant Eagle said it is willing to listen to suggestions.

"We always work with local officials to create properties that meet their needs as well as the needs of our customers," said Dan Donovan, a company spokesman.

"Organizations such as the City Planning Department, the Bloomfield Citizens Council, the Baum Center Initiative and the Shadyside Action Committee have all provided suggestions for the site's development, and we are evaluating opportunities to incorporate as many as practical," he said.

There are 67 GetGo locations in Western Pennsylvania and 145 throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states where Giant Eagle markets are located.

Depending on the size of any given location, the depth of food offerings may vary, but most offer both hot and cold prepared sandwiches, salads, sides, snacks, soft drinks and coffees/teas.

GetGo sizes range from a 200-square-foot kiosk to locations that are 5,000 square feet. Larger stores such as the Bloomfield location provide a wider range of food offerings, including prepared foods, produce, snacks and a bakery.

At the community meeting, Pat Avolio, a Giant Eagle representative, said plans are to eliminate an existing car wash facility and replace the food and beverage building with a larger structure featuring an indoor cafe seating about 20.

The number of gasoline pumps would grow from eight to 16, and on-site parking would grow from seven to 23 spaces.

The plan will be reviewed by the Pittsburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment at its Sept. 11 meeting, he said.

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