Bloomfield community group wants ShurSave development to maintain a grocery store and include equity measures | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Bloomfield community group wants ShurSave development to maintain a grocery store and include equity measures

click to enlarge Bloomfield community group wants ShurSave development to maintain a grocery store and include equity measures
CP photo: Jared Murphy
ShurSave IGA grocery store in Bloomfield
Last week, real-estate developer ECHO Realty purchased the ShurSave grocery store site in Bloomfield for a whopping $5.78 million. Although a news release from ECHO didn’t detail any plans the developer had for the large property on the corner of Liberty Avenue and Main Street, ECHO has a history of completing substantial redevelopments and the purchase price was more than three times as large as the previous sale in 2000. (Even though the listing price was for $6.75 at one time.) Signs point to a big redevelopment project for the site that will help ECHO recoup its losses from the sizable purchase price.

And with the potential of a large project on that site, comes community concerns about how it will benefit Bloomfield.

On Feb. 7, the Bloomfield Development Corporation (BDC) created an online petition to rally support to ensure the future redevelopment of the ShurSave site includes a grocery store and equity measures like affordable housing, access to shared public space, and design that factors in for those visiting the site by foot, bike, and public transit.

“We are excited to discuss [ECHO’s] goals for the project, our work in Bloomfield, and the vision the community developed with us for this site,” reads a letter from BDC. “The ShurSave site is currently the home to a much-beloved and needed grocery store that feeds hundreds of residents every day. Situated at the gateway to the Bloomfield neighborhood, it is also our most visible and iconic property.”
Last April, Bloomfield community members met and discussed what the best development plans would look like for a potential large project at the intersection of Liberty Avenue and Main Street, which is known as the Bloomfield Gateway and includes the neighborhood's Little Italy sign. BDC noted then that the ShurSave site is “one of the largest parcels of developable land in the area” and also includes a large and sparsely used parking lot. Community members agreed the site should provide affordable housing for neighborhood seniors, a road redesign to slow down traffic, and maintain a grocery store onsite.

BDC is hopeful that ECHO will read these recommendations made by the community and follow them in their plans, if they choose to redevelop the site. In their letter, the BDC requested that ECHO include an affordable grocery store; affordable for-sale and rental housing for a mix of incomes, household sizes, and ages; community spaces like an affordable gym, performance space, and childcare facility; and “people-orientated development” that is accessible for pedestrians, cyclist, and public transit users. BDC also hopes to work on the latter with city, county, and state transit officials.

“The number of crashes and public safety incidents near the intersection of Liberty Avenue and the Bloomfield Bridge and the adjacent intersections is already far too high,” reads the letter. “We look forward to working with you on a traffic study that centers the needs of our diverse community.”

As of print, the online petition has garnered more than 490 signatures, and his hoping to reach 800.