Share This Page

Housing markets expected to sustain Hill District supermarket

| Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

Growing housing markets in the Hill District and Downtown will sustain a long-delayed Shop 'n Save grocery store, leaders said on Thursday as they announced construction would begin by month's end.

The $11.5 million, full-service grocery store on Centre Avenue is scheduled to open next year.

“A grocery store like this will end up serving a lot of people,” said Pittsburgh City Councilman Daniel Lavelle, who represents the Hill and Downtown.

The store would be a short walk for residents of another long-envisioned housing and retail project at the abandoned New Grenada Theatre between Centre and Wylie avenues, he said.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority on Thursday authorized a private development group, led by Ralph Falbo and Michael Polite, to move forward with plans to build 51 one- and two-bedroom apartments in the historic theater building and 7,200 square feet of street-level retail space.

Before the $16 million project can happen, the developers must obtain about $11 million in low-income housing tax credits from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which is expected to announce its 2013 awards in March.

“This will fuel the redevelopment of the commercial corridor,” Marimba Milliones, head of the Hill Community Development Corp., told URA board members.

Elsewhere in the Hill and Uptown, Lavelle said hundreds of new housing units are becoming available on Dinwiddie Street, in the former Fifth Avenue High School and Shanahan buildings on Fifth Avenue, and at the redeveloped Addison Terrace public housing project.

“The message to residents of the Hill District is: “This is your grocery store, take ownership of this store, take pride in this store, support this store and shop in this store,' ” Robert Rubinstein, acting executive director of the URA, said during a news conference in the Hill House Association's Kaufmann Center, across the street from where the store will be built.

Until late October, organizers were roughly $3.75 million short in confirmed funding to build the store.

The final contributors were a mix of public, private and nonprofit sources. Those include $1.9 million in new-market tax credits facilitated by PNC Bank and the URA; a $789,000 federal Office of Community Services grant; $400,000 from The Heinz Endowments; $365,000 in Rivers Casino gambling money in the Hill District Growth Fund; and $300,000 from McAuley Ministries, the grant-making arm of Pittsburgh Mercy Health System.

The Pittsburgh Penguins and the URA are contributing $1 million each to the project. Store operator Jeff Ross is investing $1 million to buy equipment and inventory.

Jeremy Boren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7935 or jboren@tribweb.com.

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.