Echo Realty wanted to develop the former ShurSave site in Bloomfield to build a Giant Eagle, 248 apartment units and 10,000 square feet of retail along Liberty Avenue. Photo by Ethan Woodfill.

Plans to develop the former ShurSave site in Bloomfield have stalled after Pittsburgh’s Zoning Board of Adjustment denied a request for an exception to height restrictions in the area

O’Hara-based Echo Realty planned to build a Giant Eagle, 248 rental units including 25 affordable units, 10,000 square feet of retail space and an outdoor plaza. The grocery store would be built along Howley Street with five stories of apartments. Retail shops would be located near Ella Street with four stories of apartments above them. Indoor and underground parking was also planned.

The five-to-six-story complex required a variance because the current site is zoned for only three stories or 45 feet. The zoning board said it cannot legally override current policy created by Pittsburgh City Council.

The Bloomfield Development Corporation, which worked with Echo to include residents in the planning process, expressed concern over the decision in a statement.

“We envision a Bloomfield where everyone can build a home, a business and a future,” the statement reads. “We are concerned that this decision makes that vision harder to accomplish.”

The organization cites the proposed grocery store and affordable housing as top priorities of the proposed project. 

“Our primary concern going forward is whether Echo will still see a full-service grocery store as viable at this site without the accompanying residential density that would have added a significant customer base alongside the surrounding neighborhood,” the statement reads. “This proposal would have doubled the number of income-restricted affordable units available in Bloomfield overnight.”

Echo Realty can appeal the decision within 30 days. The Bloomfield Development Corporation says that it looks forward to further community discussions regarding the site.

A Pittsburgh native, Ethan is a freelance journalist interested in telling the stories of people doing great things to build community and sustainability. Ethan served as Editor-in-Chief of Allegheny College's newspaper, The Campus.