Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Demolition Prep Set to Begin within Days at Penn Plaza Whole Foods, Offices, Apartments in the Works

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Demolition Prep Set to Begin within Days at Penn Plaza Whole Foods, Offices, Apartments in the Works

Article excerpt

Workers are set to undertake demolition preparations April 1 for the controversial Whole Foods Market redevelopment effort in East Liberty, a lawyer confirmed Friday.

Actual demolition should follow in about three months at the remaining Penn Plaza apartment building, said attorney Jonathan Kamin, who represents Pennley Park South, an affiliate of developer LG Realty Advisors. But the timing of any new construction appears uncertain amid an ongoing court fight between his client and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto's administration.

The parties remain locked in a legal dispute over plan approval while the last Penn Plaza tenants prepare to vacate by their Friday deadline. Mr. Kamin said he had "no idea" when new construction may start. First-phase plans include the upmarket grocer, 200 apartments and 12,000 square feet of offices.

"We have contractors ready to start" pre-demolition prep work late in the week, Mr. Kamin said. He said the group would not do full demolition "with people in the building."

As of Friday, two residents still at Penn Plaza had yet to line up their next homes, although both have been offered housing, Mr. Kamin said. A spokesman for Mr. Peduto estimated that fewer than 10 remain out of more than 200 people who lived at the complex last year.

"We are continuing to work closely with each and every resident of Penn Plaza over the coming weeks to make sure nobody falls through the cracks," said Kevin Acklin, Mr. Peduto's chief of staff, in an email message.

He said the city demands that no further demolition activity occur at the property "until every resident is out of the building."

Mr. Kamin has said the group suspended earlier pre-demolition efforts out of courtesy, but that no actual demolition happened at the remaining building.

The developer provided moving allowances and relocation assistance under an agreement with the city.

"Nobody should be forced to live in a building undergoing demolition, especially elderly residents," Mr. …

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