By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

GetGo explains plans for renovations, new store at S.S. Forum


Presentations on two proposed Giant Eagle projects lead off the June 15 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum, followed by details of a proposed condominium project.

The Giant Eagle presenter was the company's director of development, Pat Avolio.

The first project is turning the Crossroads at 117 South 18th St. into a GetGo. The Crossroads is the only convenience store owned by Giant Eagle that is not a GetGo.

Renovations include: expanding the rear of the building for storage and clean-up; patching, painting, and repairing the exterior; replacing flooring; new decor and paint; and more. There will be no gas pumps.

Existing dumpsters will be relocated based on discussions with the adjacent property owner to minimize impact to their property.

Giant Eagle must first secure four variances from the city, for which it has not yet applied.

The new GetGo will operate 24 hours, seven days a week, as does Crossroads. It will remain open during the renovation, which is expected to last three to five months.

The area is zoned Local Neighborhood Commercial, which is in line with this project.

Mr. Avolio has met with the Design Committee of the South Side Local Development Co.

The other project is a proposed GetGo service station/grocery store/carwash at East Carson and South 33rd streets. It would be located on vacant property between the UPMC distribution warehouse and the F.B.I. building.

Since the property is currently zoned SP-5, it does not permit a gas station, so the zoning must be amended to allow that use. The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, which owns the land, would have to work with Giant Eagle to petition for the change.

The store will be open around-the-clock as long as business merits.

Forum Chair Hugh Brannan said the LTV Steering Committee is not opposed to the project.

Rick Belloli, executive director of the South Side LDC, said a request for proposal, or RFP, for development on the site garnered zero responses but two queries for gas stations. He also said the URA board was not thrilled about the proposed use "but have an orphan parcel they don't know what to do with."

"No other usage has come forward in five years," he said.

Misi Bielich asked why something is being put in when no one is enthralled with it.

She said it was the first time the actual plan was presented to the forum for a gas station in that spot. She then made a motion for forum members to take the issue back to their respective groups, but no one seconded it.

While Mr. Brannan said the steering committee has included the proposed usage in its monthly reports presented at forum meetings, Ms. Bielich said she felt as if member groups were not given a chance to offer input.

In the other presentation, architect Joe Indovina, of Indovina Associates Architects, discussed a plan to turn a seven-story, vacant building at 129 McKean and Second streets into 15 condominiums.

As it is adjacent to the bike path there will be bike lockers, and residents can bike to work in downtown, South Side, or Oakland. The developer is Madonna Land Co. The plan is to remove every other floor as the height is only seven feet high as the building was formerly used for storage.

The first floor will have three units, while the others will have four. There will be one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

Mr. Indovina said the units will be "loft-like," with 15-foot ceilings, exposed massive wood timbers, roof gardens for some units, and urban gardens for the ground floor units that are screened from view. The elaborate brick work in the roughly 100-year-old building will be restored. Its eight-inch thick solid wood floors will be incorporated into the building.

There will be a parking garage for 10 cars, and a parking lot for six cars. Zoning requires one space per unit. Construction would start once approvals are obtained, or likely, fall, 2010.

"I think it's a diamond in the rough," he said of the project. The units will sell for about $250,000.

Mr. Belloli said according to the South Side Neighborhood Plan, 10 percent of new housing should be affordable, which equals one unit at $175,000 to $200,000.

"We'd like to see that," he said.

Mr. Indovina was scheduled to meet with the South Side LDC Design Committee on June 17. His hearing before the


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