URA wants the Shop ‘n Save

URA wants the Shop ‘n Save

At today’s meeting of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) the board of directors will vote on three actions related to the Hill District Shop ‘n Save

  • To accept the assignment of interest between banks and the LLC and the non-profit organization that was associated with the plaza for $1.6 million.
  • To purchase the property for $10.
  • To seek negotiation with the three taxing bodies (city, county and school district) for delinquent property taxes. 

Back in March when we released a Policy Brief asking what was next for the grocery store a member of City Council (who also serves on the URA board) said that other grocery store operators expressed interest in the space but it would be “six months or possibly next year before another operator takes the space.” 

Now this week that same individual said it is vital for the URA to acquire the plaza because “without public intervention, the property, could be sold to a private interest giving the community little or no input in what happens to it.” 

According to the Allegheny County property record the URA purchased the block and lot in question in July 1994 for $1 and owned the site for nearly 17 years before selling it to the LLC.  Wasn’t that time period enough to guide the development and ensure the community had input?

The URA handled the request for proposals to sell four other properties owned by the dissolved non-profit, but not the plaza. 

Settling up on delinquent taxes (none of the taxing bodies has been paid since 2015) will be at least $200,000 based on information obtained in March.  Will the taxing bodies take less than what they are owed? 

Who knows how long the property will be tax-exempt under URA ownership.  As with parcels held without any specific plan (as mentioned in a performance audit on city-owned property) a quote from a report related to the URA action noted it is “working to determine the best path forward for the property.” The best path is to sell to private interests who will develop it and get it back on the tax rolls.