Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mayor Gets Deadline to Preserve Terminal

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mayor Gets Deadline to Preserve Terminal

Article excerpt

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has six months to try to save the Strip District's produce terminal.

The city will use the time to work with other developers in an effort to preserve the landmark under a deal reached Friday between the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Buncher Co.

With the six-month "standstill," Mr. Peduto will be able to evaluate "a third option" that keeps the terminal intact while providing Buncher with access to the surrounding land for its proposed $450 million Riverfront Landing residential and office development, said Kevin Acklin, the mayor's chief of staff and URA board chairman.

"We have an agreement in place now with Buncher that, in effect, they'll sit on the sidelines for six months," Mr. Acklin said.

Friday's agreement was necessary to allow the city to negotiate with other parties about the 1,533-foot-long structure. Buncher has an option to purchase the terminal from the URA for $1.8 million, a deal that had prevented the city from talking to other developers, Mr. Acklin said.

Buncher is proposing to demolish the western third of the building to extend 17th Street to the Allegheny River. But Mr. Peduto has made it clear that he prefers to keep the structure intact.

Mr. Acklin said the new agreement gives the city a "window of time" to evaluate other developers and their proposals for the terminal. Mr. Peduto has said that four developers -- one from Texas, one from Ohio, and two from Pennsylvania -- have expressed interest in redeveloping the building.

One developer that expressed interest publicly is the Ferchill Group of Cleveland, which converted the old Heinz food processing plant on the North Side into the Heinz Lofts apartments. Local architect Rob Pfaffmann also is leading a team interested in turning the terminal into a 21st-century incubator for the food economy and unique retail shops. …

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