Pittsburgh Public Market moving to Penn Avenue

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After spending three years in the historic produce terminal on Smallman Street, the Strip District's Pittsburgh Public Market has found a new home on Penn Avenue.

The market will move to a brick building at 2401 Penn Ave. this summer, although the exact date is not known yet.

At the new spot, the market will be able to double its space and add amenities such as air conditioning, heating and restrooms, according to the mayor's office, which announced the new address Wednesday.

In January, the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority board approved a grant not to exceed $40,000 to help with the relocation. The new site was not disclosed then, pending completion of lease negotiations.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, in a statement, said the move to Penn will "make the corridor more walkable and attractive to pedestrians and shoppers, and will further expand the business district."

Becky Rodgers, executive director of Neighbors in the Strip, which owns the market, said the organization is still finalizing financing and construction plans in advance of the move. She said the market will remain in the produce terminal until the new building is ready.

She called the new site a "great location for us." It will help to push the Strip's commercial corridor farther up Penn Avenue and provide an anchor for the new retailers, restaurants and other businesses that are emerging beyond 22nd Street, she said.

"There's a lot of new development happening along the riverfront. I think this gives attention to Penn Avenue while incubating ... those new businesses," she said.

The Penn Avenue site should also provide more space for market merchants and for cooking. The market has received a $30,000 grant to study the feasibility of a commercial kitchen, the kind of amenity it could not offer at the produce terminal.

While the terminal is a "great building," it lacked heat, air conditioning and space for expansion, Ms. Rodgers said. Construction within the terminal also could cause disruptions, she noted.

The Buncher Co. is planning to demolish the western third of the building, the longtime home to produce wholesalers, and fill the rest of the space with retailers and offices.

At its new location, the Pittsburgh Public Market, now open on weekends, may expand to a Wednesday through Sunday schedule. It currently is home to 30 merchants. Ms. Rodgers hopes to retain most of them in the move.

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Mark Belko: mbelko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1262.


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