By Julian Routh | News Editor
Duquesne students and Downtown residents will soon have a new option to buy groceries within walking distance.
After a year of negotiations, developers and Pittsburgh officials have finalized plans to bring a market to the Thompson Building in Market Square, the first grocery store Downtown since the Rosebud Fine Food Market and Deli closed in 2010.
The market is a result of collaborated efforts between developer Ralph Falbo, restaurant owners Ernie and Julian Vallozzi, the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation and the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation.
Expected to open by March 2014, the store will be “more upscale” and will offer takeout, prepared dinners, lunches, high quality meats, seafood and a coffee bar, PHLF President Arthur Ziegler said.
For grocery shoppers on a budget, the market will have a variety of produce, and “some will be expensive and some will be extremely affordable,” according to PDCDC executive director John Valentine.
“You’re going to pay for steaks and raw fish to cook,” Valentine said. “But then you’re going to have your staple items, and they’ll be comparable in price.”
Valentine said the market will be based on Dean & Deluca, an upscale grocery store chain.
The partnership chose Market Square as the grocery’s location because it is “the center of downtown,” Valentine said. The PHLF, who owns the Thompson building, entered negotiations with a market in mind.
“Our role has been to try to obtain a grocery store because it is a central, pivotal need Downtown and we wanted to locate it in the major apartment condo area,” Ziegler said.
The owners will have “an incredible opportunity to capitalize upon” the 160,000 people who come into Downtown every day as employees, according to Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership Vice President of Marketing and Communications Leigh White.
“The fact that we’re getting a grocery store right now speaks very well to the idea that we have this great residential market that is starting to blow up,” White said.
According to White, 48 percent of people who live within a 10 minute walk have an average annual income of at least $100,000, a population that an upscale market would serve “very well.”
As more residents flock to the city, it is a “better time than ever” to bring a new grocery store to the Downtown area, Valentine said.
“As we move forward and more residents come in, it’s only going to get better,” Valentine said.
The developers could not be reached for comment.