Landmark attention: Delay in the Strip leads to preservation plans

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Mayor Bill Peduto made the right call when he persuaded the Buncher Co. to hold up on plans to demolish part of the Strip District’s 85-year-old produce terminal.

Proof of that has come in the form of three promising proposals for converting the 1,533-foot-long warehouse for modern use.

McCaffery Interests of Chicago, which transformed a former cork factory in the neighborhood into a premier apartment complex, would similarly turn the produce terminal into residences and possibly some live-work lofts. The Ferchill Group of Cleveland, which converted an abandoned food processing plant on the North Side into upscale apartments, would retain a produce market at one end of the terminal and build 209 residential units in the structure. Rubino Partners, a local team led by a Strip District business owner, has not yet detailed its plan.

Significantly, none of the developers has proposed demolishing any sections of the terminal. Instead, all three would cut portals through the building to give access to Buncher’s proposed development that would sit between it and the Allegheny River.

Buncher holds an option on the site, but it agreed in late February to Mr. Peduto’s request to give the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority six months to come up with alternatives.

It’s too early to say which, if any, of these ideas will bear fruit, but they deserve careful consideration because they could save a neighborhood landmark.

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