Construction on a $17 million military commissary in Moon is expected to start in July and take 18 months to complete.
The 43,000-square-foot building at University Boulevard and Business Loop I-376 will serve active duty personnel in all branches of the military as well as the National Guard, reservists, retirees and members of their immediate families.
About 160,000 people in this geographic area will be eligible to use the commissary, which will offer deep discounts on grocery store items and household goods.
"It's been a long time coming and we are excited it's moving forward," said U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair. "Service people make sacrifices and take risks, and they don't make a lot of money in the military."
The new facility will replace the 9,000-square-foot Charles E. Kelly Support Facility in Collier. Federal officials announced in 2005 that the Kelly facility would be closed as part of a national plan to restructure military bases.
Mr. Murphy and other federal, state and local officials fought to build a new commissary in the area and to keep the Kelly commissary open in the meantime.
The two closest commissaries are in Carlisle and Dayton, Ohio, and Murphy noted that any money military personnel and families saved on groceries would be spent on gas and road tolls.
Allegheny County owns the commissary land and will lease it to the federal government, Mr. Murphy said.
The Allegheny County Economic Development department has been involved with planning, site preparation and coordinating efforts between various agencies and officials.
The old Kelly commissary is a "full-service grocery store" that has operated since 1962 and was last renovated in 1980, according to Rick Brink, a public affairs officer with the Defense Commissary Agency.
It employes about 36 people and stocks 13,000 items, including fresh produce, meat and dairy products.
Plans for the new commissary were presented earlier this month to Moon supervisors, said Adam McGurk, township planning director.
"They worked to conform to our ordinances, though the federal government is not required to do so," Mr. McGurk said. They made a presentation to Moon elected officials "as a courtesy to the board. I have been involved in design meetings."