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Pittsburgh Developer Unveils Plans For Downtown Grocery Prototype

PITTSBURGH -- Local developer Millcraft Industries said it will be the chief architect of an upscale, European-style grocery concept by year's end, as part of a $40 million redevelopment of the former Lazarus-Macy's department store downtown here.

In local press reports, Millcraft chairman Jack Piatt, said, "We know that a typical grocery store" wouldn't work in downtown Pittsburgh. "So rather than wait for an established retailer to adapt its business to an urban market, Millcraft -- which was in talks with Giant Eagle to bring a grocery to the former downtown department store -- designed its own gourmet prototype."

The new food market will occupy 12,000 square feet at the shuttered 265,000-square-foot Lazarus space dubbed Piatt Place, named for the principals of Millcraft. The as-yet unnamed concept will feature a variety of "Old World" style products from Jeanette, Pa.-based Delallo Foods, as well as products from Omaha Steaks, and a deli featuring fresh prepared entrees, salads and soups. Seafood, sushi, specialty breads and business catering will also be featured.

"We recognize that the basic needs of urban dwellers in Pittsburgh are not being met," Piatt said. The European Market will fill this void, providing all of the basic needs for life downtown. The market, which is expected to be open by the end of the year, will also feature call-ahead ordering and grocery delivery

Millcraft is already in the food business, with restaurants in two area hotels and says it hopes to open three other stores based on the downtown Pittsburgh model.

Establishing a grocery store within the Golden Triangle has long been considered a linchpin in establishing downtown Pittsburgh as a strong residential neighborhood. The market is part of an overall redevelopment of the vacant four-story Lazarus-Macy's store, closed in 2004, that includes 22 two-story rooftop townhouses, 25 condominiums, 180,000-square-feet of office space, and 50,000-square-feet of retail space.

There has not been a grocery store in downtown Pittsburgh since Market on the Square, a meat and food store attached to the G.C. Murphy's building in Market Square, closed in late 1994. That site had been a fixture for groceries since 1929.
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