To market, to market: A developer seeks to fill Downtowners' appetite

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A deal to bring an upscale grocery to Market Square next spring is welcome news to the growing number of apartment and condo dwellers Downtown.

The lack of a well-stocked food store where household staples, fresh meat, fish, vegetables and prepared foods could be bought without having to drive miles has been a sore point with those who hoped Downtown living would be more convenient -- not less.

Ralph Falbo, the developer who will lease space at the Thompson Building at 435 Market St., should be commended for trying to serve this key demographic of Pittsburghers. Plans for the store come three years after Rosebud Fine Food Market and Deli, a specialty grocery in a less-central location, closed at Seventh Street and Fort Duquesne Boulevard.

While a gourmet grocery will give Golden Triangle residents and workers another option, it may only whet the appetite of those who live there. A survey this year by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership confirmed that a grocery tops Downtown residents' wish list as the top retail priority and that their preference was a Giant Eagle, Whole Foods Market or Trader Joe's.

These are supermarkets with variety, selection and a loyal customer base. It would make sense for any one of them to have a presence in a sizable space Downtown. Although a supermarket of even moderate size would pose parking and logistical challenges, sheer demand should help an imaginative and motivated developer to overcome them.

In the meantime, people who live, work and visit Downtown will have a chance to go to market at Market Square -- just like the old days.

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