Stores in Pittsburgh’s landmark Produce Terminal could move in by October

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto remembered his grandfather taking him as a child to the Produce Terminal in the Strip District, where they would purchase grapes to make “bad” wine.

The mayor should be able to buy some good wine at the renovated terminal building along Smallman Street when the project is completed in August 2020.

“If you’re Italian and from western Pennsylvania, this building connects to you directly,” Peduto said Tuesday. “It’s going to see another 100 years. We’re going to give her a brand new use and this building will be the lifeblood of the regeneration and rejuvenation of all along the Allegheny River from the Strip into Lawrenceville and all the way into Downtown.”

Peduto was among dozens of public officials and dignitaries on hand for a ceremonial groundbreaking of the historic terminal building that once provided fresh produce throughout this end of the state. Chicago-based McCaffery Interests has started work on rehabilitating the terminal and a three-story former warehouse across Smallman that once housed the popular nightclubs Rosebud and Metropol.

McCaffery is planning ground-floor shops with two floors of offices above them in the former warehouse. There will be 51 parking spaces in the building at 1600 Smallman and an adjoining parking garage with an additional 177 spaces, according to Pamela Austin, McCaffery’s senior project manager for development. The terminal will have a parking lot with 277 spaces on the Allegheny River side.

The combined projects will total about $105 million. About 95 percent of the money is coming from the Multi-Employer Property Trust, consisting of union pension funds that support projects employing union workers, according to Seattle-based Bentall Kennedy, which administers the trust.

The remainder is coming from McCaffery and state grants totaling about $7 million. Pittsburgh has approved tax increment financing worth $3.5 million that will go toward $18 million in utility and street improvements along Smallman.

Austin said the terminal, which stretches along Smallman from 16th to 21st street, is getting a new roof, masonry restoration, windows and an extension of a former loading dock on Smallman that will provide space for outdoor dining. Old loading dock doors are being refurbished for use on the riverside of the building. The project includes three pedestrian walkways at 17th, 18th and 20th streets that will allow passage from Smallman. Passages at 17th and 18th will connect to paths leading to the river.

McCaffery is marketing the building as a “food-centric” venue for such businesses as restaurants, entertainment, clothing, fitness and specialty shops and could include national franchises.

“We haven’t announced any of our leases yet,” Austin said. “We don’t want to steal any of our tenants’ thunder.”

She said the terminal is scheduled to be completed in phases with businesses starting to move in on the 16th Street end in October. The building at 1600 Smallman should be complete by June 2020, she said.

Editor’s note: Shops at the Produce Terminal will be able to move into the building in October but won’t open at that time. This story has been updated with that change.

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