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Paragon Food Service to buy Lawrenceville site from URA for $893,000

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Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Lawrenceville food distributor has reached a deal to buy nearly 13 acres from the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority.

The URA voted on Thursday to sell the 12.77-acre property it owns at the 62nd Street Industrial Park to Paragon Food Service for $893,000.

“They are looking to grow in a big way,” URA Director Robert Rubinstein said of Paragon, which he described as Pittsburgh's largest independently owned fresh foods distributor.

The 62nd Street property used to be home to a Tippins International Inc. steel fabrication plant.

Paragon plans to use the land for a fresh-produce distribution center and processing plant. It is considering building greenhouses so it can grow fresh fruits and vegetables on the site.

“It gives us an opportunity to be much more creative,” said Elaine Bellin, president of Paragon, which employs 107 people at its smaller existing site on 36th Street.

Paragon has been based in Pittsburgh for about 50 years.

The Strip District-based Buncher Co. had an option to buy part of the 62nd Street site from the URA in a deal that gave the URA exclusive rights to buy a distribution center Buncher owns on 43rd Street. The URA board rescinded that deal in September. Buncher did not return a call.

Before the sale closes with Paragon, the company must present its final development plans and proof of financing.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or

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