Fruit Auction & Sales Building/Strip District, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from joseph a’s photostream

The planned development by the Buncher Company in the Strip District has been in the news a lot lately. And rightly so. The Strip District is one of Pittsburgh’s historic gems and any development that would bring significant changes must be approached carefully and with a robust public discussion. As the Post-Gazette noted:

The Strip District is an authentic Pittsburgh character, a must-see for visitors that’s just as popular with the locals, who are drawn to its fruit, vegetable, flower and ethnic markets, craft shops, restaurants and charm.

The right improvements could open up access to the Allegheny River and enliven this already bustling community on the cusp of Downtown, but the wrong plans could ruin an essential city neighborhood.

That’s why city council members are right to seek more details from the Buncher Co. before giving the OK to financial help from Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority.

With this development and subsequent developments along the Allegheny riverfront, we have an opportunity to propel Pittsburgh forward while setting an example for waterfront development for cities around the world. But we have to make sure we do it right. Councilman Kraus, Councilman Dowd, and I are seeking answers to several important questions about the project to ensure that the taxpayer dollars that the Buncher Company is asking for — the most ever requested for one project — are put to their greatest use. To read the letter Councilman Kraus and I submitted to the CEO of the Buncher Company which includes a host of concerns (including the TIF structure, the design, the community process, legalities, preservation, and labor and TIF requirements), please click here.

1106 Strip District_19, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from nooccar’s photostream