Supermarket chain eyeing downtown Pittsburgh location

Giant Eagle is looking for a location in downtown Pittsburgh.

There's a gaping hole in Pittsburgh's downtown vicinity: There isn't a grocery store convenient for people who live or work in the area.

"There's nowhere downtown to really go to get food or anything," Linda Hughes told Pittsburgh's WPXI. "You have a lot of people living in town now. So many people catch the bus downtown, and everybody could just run in and grab what they needed and get back on their bus to go to their destination."

Giant Eagle, a supermarket chain with stores in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, is considering a store in downtown Pittsburgh, according to the Pittsburgh TribLIVE.

"We believe it would be feasible to place a store downtown," James J. Chickini, vice president of real estate leasing and development for Giant Eagle, told the TribLIVE. "We would consider all options, from leasing space to building a store."

Chickini would not pinpoint a location for the supermarket, but he said resident growth is the determining factor.

"We are definitely interested in placing a store if the population count warrants one, but nothing is planned at this time," Chickini said.

Where the store should go
Jeremy Waldrup, CEO and president of Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, told TribLIVE that commercial real estate professionals have offered several potential locations for the store.

Those spots include PPG Plaza at Market Square and a first-floor retail area at the former Saks department store on Smithfield Street and Oliver Avenue.

"The Hill District just got a grocery store that they needed," Janet Winbush told WKPI. "Downtown needs one, they're overdue."

The former Saks department store is slated to have retail space on the first level and a 600-space garage in the six-story building. The cost would be $35.3 million and would allow for additional floors for residential use, according to TribLive.

Waldrup stated that Pittsburgh's downtown residences grew by 1,020 units since 2010. The downtown area, sometimes referred to as the Golfen Triangle, now has 2,311 housing units, with the neighborhood's population at around 3,000, Waldrup told TribLIVE. The population is even greater - about 8,000 – when accounting for people who live in the Strip District and Lower Hill District, which are on the outskirts of downtown Pittsburgh.

Construction in the area isn't finished, and Waldrup added that developers are planning 967 apartments and 18 condominiums.

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