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Pittsburgh URA approves construction plans for landmark Produce Terminal

Bob Bauder
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An artist’s rendering of Chicago-based McCaffery Interest’s plans for the landmark Produce Terminal in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.

Work to convert Pittsburgh’s landmark Produce Terminal into a restaurant, retail and office complex will finally begin this spring following a unanimous vote Thursday by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

Pamela Austin, Senior Project Manager of Development for Chicago-based McCaffery Interests, said the $50 million project would begin in March and wrap up around the summer of 2020.

“It’s been a long journey for my company and me personally, and I’m very thrilled that we finally get to build what we’ve been dreaming of for so long,” she said.

Terminal building construction will coincide with McCaffery’s redevelopment of a former warehouse at 1600 Smallman Street. The two projects combined will total a little more than $100 million. The buildings are located across the street from each other in the Strip District.

Austin said the warehouse would be converted into space for shops on the first floor and offices on upper floors. Plans also call for more than 200 parking spaces in the basement and a new garage next to the Veterans Bridge.

“We’re going to do them concurrently with the same contractor,” Austin said. “It will be a lot less obtrusive to the community to share lay-down areas and how the traffic’s managed and everything.”

The URA, which owns the building, in 2014 agreed to exclusive negotiations with McCaffery on the historic structure stretching from 16th Street to 21st Street. It previously approved a 99-year lease with McCaffery for $2.5 million.

The deal includes a $23 million rehabilitation of Smallman by the city to make it safer and easier to navigate for pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles. URA directors also approved $3.7 million in tax increment financing that will exclusively be used to help pay for the street improvements.

Austin said three pedestrian walkways at 17th, 18th and 20th streets would cut through the building. Those at 17th and 18th streets include public easements that will allow pedestrians access to the Allegheny Riverfront.

A parking lot with 277 spaces will be constructed at the rear of the building.

The new terminal will include a “food centric” market on the 16th Street end and a total of about 40,000 square feet of space for local and regional businesses.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.