Strip District makeover to proceed, developer says
The Buncher Co. will proceed with a $400 million development in the Strip District regardless of whether it gets permission to tear down the landmark Produce Terminal, a company official said Thursday.
Pittsburgh's Historic Review Commission this week gave preliminary approval for nomination of the terminal — a key element in the Buncher project — as a historic structure. Historic designation could prevent Buncher from demolishing about 30 percent of the building and providing public access to the Allegheny River, Buncher President and CEO Thomas J. Balestrieri said.
But it won't stop Buncher from developing about 63 acres it owns along the river behind the building.
“Whether there's a Produce Terminal or not, there will be a road from 11th Street to 21st Street, and there will be developable parcels along the riverfront,” Balestrieri said. “When there's an opportunity there, whether it's an office building, or a residential building, or a hotel, or whatever the opportunity may be, we'll move ahead with it.
“We're in the development business.”
The company plans a mix of town homes, offices and shops called Riverfront Landing on vacant property that once was a rail yard and is used for parking. It has an option to buy the Produce Terminal from the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority for $1.8 million and wanted to tear down about one-third of the terminal's western end.
Balestrieri said demolition would permit extension of 17th Street to the river and a public plaza on the riverfront. The company would renovate the remaining space in a historically accurate way, he said.
Work on the $3.5 million road called Waterfront Place is ongoing. Balestrieri said the company anticipated Wednesday's Historic Review Commission decision and still hopes to carry out its plan for the terminal.
“We expect to go through the process, and we expect, at the end of the day, that we will be permitted to go forward with the demolition,” he said. “In the meantime, we're building the road and we'll continue to do what we need to do on the riverfront — and we'll continue to park cars.”
Preservation Pittsburgh, which prepared the nomination for historic status, believes that razing any portion of the quarter-mile-long terminal would be a big loss for the city, said Michael Shealey, a board member.
“We believe that its value as an architectural structure is relative to that length,” he said.
Sarah Quinn, Pittsburgh's historic preservation planner, said the commission's vote means the terminal has potential for historic designation. The commission did the same for such buildings as the Civic Arena but subsequently voted against historic recommendation. Crews razed the Civic Arena in 2012.
The Historic Review and city Planning commissions are scheduled to offer recommendations to City Council, which will decide the issue, in September, Quinn said.
Bob Bauder is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312 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.
- Prosecutors say cyanide-death defendant Ferrante tested toxin on mice to gauge effect on human
- Ross brothers ordered to pay fine, remove debris from Christmas display
- Peduto, Harris compromise on $1.6M for North Side community center
- Police arrest 8, cite more than 2 dozen after riots in Morgantown
- Savvy Service Employees International Union ‘keeps light on’
- Pittsburgh police officers start wearing video cameras
- State law complicates Allegheny County proposal for letter grading of restaurants
- Proposal to limit access divides Penn Hills, Homewood neighborhoods
- Legal titans prepared to tussle in Ferrante cyanide homicide trial
- Hill District killing illustrates teen struggle to escape gang violence
- Harassment, littering citations for City Council president backed