Pittsburgh seeks another grocery store to replace Hill District Shop ‘n Save
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he wasn’t surprised at the news that a Shop ‘n Save in the Hill District would close in March after six years.
”It hasn’t been generating the type of revenue that they expected for several years,” the mayor said Thursday. “They’re losing money. That being said, we have been in discussions with another operator about taking over that space. We are going to work to maintain and to keep a grocery store in the Hill District.”
Peduto declined to name the other grocery store, but said it’s an existing business within the city.
Jeff Ross, who operates six other Shop ‘n Save stories in the region, opened the Hill District store in 2013 after a lengthy effort by public officials and the Hill House Association to attract a grocery operator. The neighborhood had been without a supermarket for 30 years.
Ross could not be reached for comment.
The Hill House Association and Economic Development Corp. built the $11.5 million grocery and adjoining retail space in the Centre Heldman Plaza along Centre Avenue with nearly $4 million in public subsidies and despite criticism that the neighborhood could not sustain a supermarket.
Peduto said Hill District demographics are about to change with the Penguins’ redevelopment of the 28-acre former Civic Arena site, which will include a significant residential component, and new housing in other parts of the neighborhood.
“We’re very close to making an announcement with the Penguins on the 28 acres, and a large part of that will be housing,” Peduto said. “I see that area growing, and as we start to invest the money from the 28 acres into the Middle Hill and the Upper Hill, the need for a grocery store would become even stronger. We’re at a different time now where we’re going to see growth in the Hill District, investment in the Hill District, and a grocery store will be needed.”
He was unsure how long it might take for another grocery store to open.
“I haven’t had the conversation to go that deep,” he said. “We’re really just trying to figure out the financials of what it would take in order to have the operator move in. A lot of the costs associated with it are brick and mortar in setting up the store. Those costs have already been taken care of. It’s the question of whether or not they’d be willing to open a store in the Hill District.”
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .