Food chain needs funds for its store in Clairton
A developer of a proposed Save-A-Lot grocery store in Clairton is requesting the city fill in a $460,000 financial gap in the project.
Howard Slaughter, a consultant for Sierra Development, told residents and city officials about the shortfall earlier this week.
“We have certain dollars in place. We have to leverage those dollars,” Slaughter said at Tuesday's council meeting. “We're about ($460,000-$500,000) away from where we need to go on this development. That's pretty much where we are, unless we can fill the gap, Sierra will not be able to move forward because that will be difficult to do.”
The Save-A-Lot is projected to be located on the former Blair Heights housing development along Maple Avenue, not far from Route 837 and the U.S. Steel Clairton coke plant.
Sierra Development, through its Cityplace Center LLC subsidiary, bought the 6.03-acre land for $100,000 from the Allegheny County Housing Authority in 2011.
The plan is to develop a 15,500-square-foot grocery with 65 parking spaces.
City officials have yet to say if they would grant Sierra's request.
“This is probably the biggest project that we've worked on as council members in the city of Clairton, trying to make something happen for our city,” Councilman Richard Ford said.
“I do see that it's very possible (to have a grocery store),” Mayor Rich Lattanzi said.
Resident Joe Julian said he's opposed to the city giving any money to Sierra, noting that when he started his business, “we didn't get a dime from this city.”
“We should not have to pay for a grocery store,” Julian said. “I've been eating without a grocery store for the last 10 years, and I don't think we should pay a dime of our tax money for any business to come here.”
Council voted to approve development and site control agreements between the city and Sierra Development LLC in September.
The agreements were needed to be in place prior to submitting applications for Allegheny County Community Development Block Grant and state Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund grant requests.
The city is seeking $490,000 in CDBG funds and $250,000 in CTIF monies on behalf of Sierra.
Slaughter lauded city officials for their efforts in trying to bring a grocery store to Clairton.
Councilman John Lattanzi said he hasn't seen enough from Sierra to have the city assist the project any further.
“I'm against it unless they can show me they got enough money to finance this project,” Lattanzi said. “Show me the money. That's my story. I've been telling them I wanted to see financial reports, and they never provided.”
Lattanzi also said he spoke with city solicitor J. Deron Gabriel, who informed officials the money requested cannot be a direct loan to an individual or company.
Slaughter said Sierra's financial commitment to the store, including cash equity, total roughly $2.5 million.
“That is the maximum that the organization can put into a grocery store,” Slaughter said.
Sierra' applying for a $250,000 loan through the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Duquesne. Sierra also committed $471,000 toward purchasing equipment, and seeks a $1 million loan through First Commonwealth Bank.
Slaughter said Sierra received a commitment for $625,000 in an operational grant, but the store would have to open by February 2014 to get those funds.
Slaughter declined to say where that money is coming from.
Ford said he expects the city to receive a letter from Sierra by Friday showing all the financial commitments the company received.
“We need $460,000 to fill all the gaps for the money we feel we need to make it happen,” Ford said. “I pray that the city will commit to it because it is for our city. If the county don't see we have our end of the commitment, they're not going to commit to us.”
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Replacement fire chief, safety issues to top McKeesport agenda
- Fast-moving storms strand Mon Valley motorists
- Experts offer Fourth of July safety tips
- Former Kennywood worker held for court on child porn charges
- Economy growing along region’s trails
- McKeesport school board hikes millage in new budget
- Community gardens in McKeesport, Steel Valley area give options to local growers
- Brewster picked for Smith’s seat on Senate Appropriations Committee
- McKeesport woman headed to trial on arson charge