Produce Terminal options explored in Strip District riverfront project
A Jan. 1 ownership change at one of Western Pennsylvania's leading development companies won't change the way it does business or threaten projects such as a $400 million riverfront development in Pittsburgh, its top executive said on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh's Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Peduto is reaching out to Buncher Co.'s soon-to-be majority owners about his ideas for the Strip District riverfront project.
“We're just jumping into this, and we've asked them to give us the time to be able to look” at alternative plans for the Produce Terminal, said Peduto, 48, of Point Breeze during a meeting with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editors and reporters.
Peduto opposes Buncher's controversial plan to demolish one-third of the terminal.
Buncher President and CEO Tom Balestrieri said the ownership change will have little impact on the project or the company's day-to-day operations. Buncher has a $1.8 million option to buy the terminal from Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority.
“We believe we have a plan that works, and we're in a position where we're ready to act on it,” Balestrieri said. “The change will not impact the business practices and policies here.”
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Foundation and the New York-based American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee are poised to assume a combined 80 percent ownership stake in Buncher on Jan. 1, per the wishes of late owner Jack G. Buncher. He died in 2001.
Each group would have a 16 percent share, up from 9 percent each. None of the organizations commented on the proposed Strip District project or any conversations with Peduto.
As shareholders, the five groups will be beneficiaries of dividends the company generates. They will elect a board of directors, which in turn will elect officers to run the company's day-to-day operations. At a recent shareholders meeting, the board and officers were re-elected, Balestrieri said.
Peduto has told Balestrieri and leaders of the nonprofits that he wants to see the existing quarter-mile-long Produce Terminal redeveloped as a food distribution center for all of Western Pennsylvania. He said he has two potential developers interested in the project, but he declined to identify them.
Balestrieri wants to lop off part of the Produce Terminal so 17th Street can extend from Smallman Street to the edge of the Allegheny River, where his company plans housing, office and retail development between 11th and 21st streets.
Peduto's plan would create several “pass-throughs” to provide vehicle and pedestrian access through the terminal.
A preservation group and an architect nominated the Produce Terminal for a historic designation in a move that put the project on hold. The city's Planning Commission will consider the nomination next week, and City Council must decide on it by mid-February.
Buncher officials said last week when the city's Historic Review Commission endorsed the terminal's historic designation that a delay could jeopardize the project.
“I don't know that the soon-to-be owners of the company feel that either they get to tear down one-third of the building or they are not developing anything. I don't think that represents their feelings,” Peduto said.
Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Steelers RB Archer trying to catch up after tough rookie season
- Steelers LB Timmons has grown into leadership role on defense
- Steelers notebook: Backup QB Gradkowski remains out with shoulder issue
- Rising East Liberty out of reach for Pittsburgh’s poor
- ‘Real’ people, solutions at heart of GOP ad blitz in Pa.
- Juvenile shot in North Versailles neighborhood
- Pirates third baseman Ramirez’s last ride is about winning a ring
- Leschak Automotive advances to second round in DNL playoffs
- Bill seeks to give Pittsburgh police license plate info
- Ambridge’s PittMoss takes off with help from TV show, Mt. Lebanon native Cuban
- Medical pot has advocate in Pennsylvania House