Pittsburgh City Council denies historic status to Strip District's produce terminal

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Pittsburgh City Council today voted down a historic designation for the produce terminal in the Strip District, falling one vote short of the super majority required.

The historic designation would have protected the terminal, officially known as the Pennsylvania Fruit and Auction Sales building, from a partial demolition proposed by developer Buncher Co., which is in the process of buying the building from the Urban Redevelopment Authority and currently leases the building.

Because Buncher Co. opposed a historic designation, council would have needed six votes to pass the resolution. Only five members — Council President Bruce Kraus, Councilman Dan Gilman and Councilwomen Darlene Harris, Natalia Rudiak and Deb Gross — voted in favor of it. Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith and Councilmen Corey O’Connor, R. Daniel Lavelle and Ricky Burgess opposed the measure.

Regardless, the developer has agreed to put all its plans on hold while alternatives are explored. Mayor Bill Peduto has been meeting regularly with Buncher officials and has assembled a group to study a redevelopment plan that would keep the building intact.

The produce terminal is part of Buncher’s $450 million Riverfront Landing residential and office project. The developer wanted to demolish one-third of the 1,500-foot terminal to provide access to the Allegheny River.

Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 or on Twitter @MoriahBee.

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