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After years of negotiations with several supermarket organizations, community leaders of Pittsburgh’s Hill District are at long last applauding the pending arrival of a new 30,000-square-foot grocery store that represents the neighborhood’s first full-service grocery store since the 1980s.
The Hill House Economic Development Corp. (HHEDC), in partnership with Supervalu’s Pittsburgh-based Shop ’n Save banner group, has signed a lease with independent grocer Jeff Ross, to operate the new store, which will be developed at the corner of Centre Avenue and Heldman Street, across from the Hill House Center and adjacent to the AUBA Triangle Shops.
Ross operates four other Shop ’n Save stores in western Pennsylvania: Connellsville, Mount Pleasant and two in McKeesport.
Noting that the new supermarket will provide Hill District residents with access to healthy foods and encourage less reliance on the processed foods found in convenience stores, Victor Roque, HHEDC’s president/CEO, said: “For the first time in over 25 years, Hill District residents will have access to fresh foods without having to travel to a grocer outside of the neighborhood. The grocery store will not only benefit the physical health of community residents, but [also] the economic growth of this community.”
Highlights of the new urban grocery store include fresh produce, deli and bakery, frozen and prepared foods, and health, beauty and wellness products. Customers will also be able to earn fuel discounts with the Shop ’n Save’s “Pump Perks” gas rewards program, as well as being able to take advantage of special sales, double coupons and competitive prices.
HHEDC — which will own the property and lease the space to Ross — is also working to secure two other tenants for the additional 6,400 square feet of space available along the Centre Avenue corridor.
Slated to open by November 2011, the grocery store is expected to bring 100 jobs to the neighborhood.
As the latest in a series of neighborhood projects drawing attention to the neighborhood’s economic and cultural strengths — including a storied history in jazz and the arts, its convenient central location and its close proximity to the Cultural District and Downtown — the new supermarket represents “a critical milestone in our efforts to strengthen the Hill’s residential and commercial appeal,” said Jules Matthews, HHEDC executive director.
“The revitalization of cultural icons such as Kaufmann Center, the Crawford Grill and Granada Theater are helping restore the Hill District’s image as a destination neighborhood that attracts visitors region-wide,” added Matthews, noting that the new Shop ’n Save will serve not only Hill residents, but also patrons who come to the community to enjoy cultural and arts events.
The grocery store is an outcome of the One Hill Community Benefits Agreement signed in 2009 by Hill District residents, the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sports and Exhibition Authority, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, and Allegheny County. Funders for the project include the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Fresh Food Initiative Grant, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, the RK Mellon Foundation, the McCune Foundation and Heinz Endowments.
The Hill District community has been actively involved in the decision to bring a full-service grocery store to the Hill and has participated in a number of community planning meetings as part of the Community Benefits Agreement, a process facilitated by the Hill’s community representative body, the Hill District Consensus Group. In August, residents and stakeholders will meet with Ross and other grocery industry representatives to discuss specific plans for the store.
There are more than 70 independently owned and operated Shop ’n Save supermarkets throughout western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia.