Pittsburgh area state lawmakers and Urban Redevelopment Authority officials are trying to attract a grocer to the site of a former Foodland store on Broadway Avenue in Beechview that closed at the end of June.
State Representative Chelsa Wagner of Beechview hosted a community meeting Saturday at the Beechview United Presbyterian Church to update residents and gather more input. Wagner says there's been growing concern in the community as the now closed Foodland store "has been going downhill for a good year" with fewer and fewer goods being offered. Wagner says one constituent told her that her sons couldn't even buy a pack of gum at the store and it stopped selling Port Authority passes.
Wagner says her fear was that the old owner would keep letting his store decline over the next 3 or 4 years and there would be no interest in a grocery store in that community....so the closing "is not a bad thing." Wagner says that's because over the last year or so there have been informal talks with parties interested in a grocery store at that site "involving a complete renovation of the current store or knocking it down and building a new store with a parking facility." According to Wagner, residents have been approached about selling adjacent properties so that a new grocery store could have a bigger footprint...."I think the timing is hopefully going to work out for the community in a way that's going to benefit the community long term. Because what we really need is a full-service quality grocery store that will be there for years to come.
Wagner says she doesn't know of a timeline to have a new store.