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Buncher to build sewer, water lines in Strip plan

| Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority on Friday approved an agreement with Buncher Co. to construct sewer and water lines along a street being built as part of a $400 million development in the Strip District.

The $3.5 million plan for Waterfront Place, to run from 11th to 21st streets in the Strip, includes new water, sewer, electric and natural gas lines, said Michael E. Kutzer, vice president for real estate at Buncher.

Buncher is making the improvements according to city standards and will deed the water and sewer lines to Pittsburgh after they're completed, said Jim Good, interim director of PWSA. The plan includes separate lines for sanitary and storm sewers.

Sewage and stormwater flow through the same lines in Pittsburgh's old system, which overflows into waterways during heavy rain.

The city is under federal court order to reduce the overflows. Part of the solution includes separate lines.

Kutzer said Buncher is picking up part of the cost and using a state grant for the remainder, but he could not offer a specific breakdown of the funding.

Buncher plans housing, offices and retail space on 55 acres of vacant parking property that it owns between 11th and 21st streets and Smallman Street and the Allegheny River.

The project includes partial demolition of the landmark Produce Terminal so property behind it will be pedestrian-accessible.

The project has drawn criticism from residents, merchants and members of City Council, who contend that the terminal's demolition and less green space along the river could detract from the iconic neighborhood's character.

Councilman Patrick Dowd, who serves on the PWSA board and opposes the Buncher project, voted against the agreement, which passed, 6-1.

Kutzer said Waterfront Place should be finished next year.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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