An intractable problem sometimes can be solved by looking at it from a new perspective.
Here's hoping that will be the case with the dilemma posed by the Buncher Co.'s ambitious plans for developing housing in the Strip District, which run smack into a historic, underutilized produce terminal.
In May, city Councilman Bill Peduto said it was "wrongheaded" for the developer to file for a permit to raze part of the building even before exercising its option to purchase it from the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority. At that time, he said he'd try to craft a compromise that would allow the $400 million residential and office development to move forward on the Allegheny riverfront without destroying the Pittsburgh Produce Terminal.
No agreement was forthcoming, but Mr. Peduto is continuing his quest, meeting regularly with representatives from Buncher regarding riverfront access, stormwater mitigation, historic preservation and options for reuse of the terminal. Mr. Peduto is trying to convince Buncher to uncouple the terminal building from the rest of its project so that a third party might come up with a plan that halts the wrecking ball but allows access -- perhaps with a pass-through -- to the residential site.
His efforts aren't necessarily an exercise in futility. After all, Mr. Peduto's fresh view is as the mayor-apparent heading into next month's election, in possession of the Democratic nomination and mere token opposition from an AWOL Republican and a little-known independent candidate.
In addition, he is pursuing the talks as a petition to designate the terminal as a city historic structure advances to the city planning commission and council. If approved, as it was on Wednesday by the Historic Review Commission, that could make it much more difficult for Buncher to proceed. Given that looming possibility, perhaps the firm now will be willing to give a little.
Mr. Peduto's effort is encouraging in another way. He is not the mayor yet, but he is doing what a good mayor should.
P.S. -- Doesn't Pittsburgh still have a mayor on the payroll?