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New Sun Rising buys Millvale Moose Lodge for headquarters, sustainable food hub

| Monday, April 3, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Scott Wolovich
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Scott Wolovich
Scott Wolovich
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Scott Wolovich
Scott Wolovich
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Scott Wolovich

Social incubator New Sun Rising has purchased a new headquarters that will create 20 jobs and a more sustainable Millvale, according to executive director Scott Wolovich.

The nonprofit will move from a 700-square-foot space to the 10,000-square-foot former Loyal Order of the Moose No. 68 at 112 E. Sherman St. in Millvale.

Millvale sustainability coordinator, Zaheen Hussain, will move from his current Millvale Community Library workspace to the new building, where he will work alongside New Sun Rising employees in a co-working space. The office area will constitute the first renovation phase and has an estimated May completion.

The second phase, with an estimated July completion, is a commercial kitchen that Sprezzatura, an Italian catering company and 412 Food Rescue's Good Food Project, will share.

The 412 Food Rescue co-founder and CEO Leah Lizarondo said her organization will use the kitchen to process donations into “healthy, ready-to-eat meals” and will hold pop-up dinners. The organization also will host food education classes.

“This space is essential to the natural next step to achieving our mission of preventing food from entering the waste stream and redirecting it to feeding those who are food insecure.”

Sprezzatura will offer customers an affordable, seasonal menu of healthy specialties in an indoor cafe and outdoor deck area, according to owner Jen Saffron. She also will cater events, occurring inside the building.

Finally, phase three will consist of a training area and artist-in-residence space.

New Sun Rising created a for-profit benefit corporation to purchase the building.

“The reason we did that was to allow for other community partners and nonprofits as they bring resources to the project that they can actually have some equity ownership in the for-profit itself,” Wolovich said.

The building concept is a direct response to the 2012 Millvale EcoDistrict Pivot Plan, which focused on food, energy, water, air quality, mobility and equity initiatives: When residents expressed an interest in having greater food access, New Sun Rising created the Launch Millvale food incubator in 2015, he said.

“I came into the program knowing that I liked to cook food … but not someone who had any knowledge of how to run a food-related business,” Saffron said. “And now we're looking at joining forces with 412 (Food Rescue) and New Sun Rising to create a brick and mortar establishment that will serve the community.”

New Sun Rising is working with Millvale EcoDistrict Collaborative members to build upon the plan, Wolovich said.

“We are exploring additional ways that the project will improve the energy and food resiliency goals of the community. Projects under consideration include rooftop solarization, micro-grid technology and food access goals of the Gardens of Millvale.”

Hussain said a long-term goal is for the Millvale Community Center to have the ability to go off the grid in the case of an emergency and draw power from solar installations throughout the borough.

“With the Millvale Community Center and Millvale Community Library already solarized, adding the old Moose building to our renewable portfolio acts as another important step towards the development of our energy hub.”

“This project is yet another example of a public space that can add to the positive sustainable economic development that is occurring in Millvale, providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and add to Millvale's magic.”

Neighborhood Allies and LISC have provided the project's lead funding. Firms evolveEA and ATK Design Studios LLC are working on the building.

Erica Cebzanov is a Tribune- Review contributor.

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