The week that was for 10/14/12

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Department stores are out ...

... fashion districts are in, at least in Downtown. The PG's Mark Belko reports that "the site of the former Saks department store Downtown could become a multistory parking garage framed by retail and topped by a residential tower." Meanwhile, in a separate story he also reports that "the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation is set to acquire two buildings Downtown as part of its bid to establish a women's fashion district on Wood Street near the site of the new PNC high-rise."

Quote of the week

"These are uncertain times for us in terms of the costs we see from suppliers and uncertain times for customers in terms of the prices they see. ... This is an effort to take away that uncertainty."

-- Rob Borella, senior director of marketing for Giant Eagle, on the grocer's new "Low Price Lock" marketing campaign, which sets prices on more than 300 commonly purchase items until at least Jan. 2.

Highmark vs. UPMC, redux

Perhaps you were hoping that this would be the week that Highmark and UPMC laid down their arms, a la the World War I Christmas truce of 1914? Well, maybe next week: Highmark is mad at UPMC for blocking Highmark's would-be "Community Blue" insurance policy subscribers from using UPMC hospitals. Also last week, in a motion to dismiss UPMC's May lawsuit accusing Highmark and West Penn Allegheny Health System of conspiring to destroy UPMC, Highmark said the lawsuit doesn't "make economic sense."

UPMC, the motion said, "is trying to use legal maneuvering to eliminate competition in the Western Pennsylvania health care delivery market and further drive up the already unsustainable cost of health care."

Highmark vs. WPAHS, redux

The PG's Steve Twedt sat down with West Penn Allegheny Health System board members last week, and they told him that "Highmark Inc. officials want the WPAHS to file for bankruptcy so it can shave $600 million off the $1.4 billion price tag for acquiring the region's second-largest health system." Highmark, in a Friday letter sent to WPAHS board chairman Jack Isherwood, disputed that characterization, saying it still wants to "consummate the affiliation."

On Sept. 28, WPAHS announced that it was breaking off its partnership with Highmark, saying Highmark had broken their agreement by trying to push the financially ailing WPAHS into bankruptcy.

businessnews

Bill Toland: btoland@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2625.


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