Giant Eagle plans to put a GetGo gas station and convenience store at the corner of Frankstown and Fifth avenues on a lot that would span all the way to Kelly Street.
While the company has purchase agreements with the owners of each of the 20 parcels needed for the development, it first needs to obtain a zoning change for 19 of those parcels from residential to urban industrial.
There is currently a Hook Fish & Chicken restaurant on one of the parcels; the rest of the properties are vacant land.
The plan was presented to the community during the Homewood Collaborative meeting on May 11. The zoning change still needs to go before the Pittsburgh Planning Commission and a public hearing — both of which have yet to be scheduled.
Mark Ferguson, Giant Eagle’s real estate manager, said the company plans to build a 6,370-square-foot store next to gas pumps that will have 12 individual fueling positions.
There are currently gas stations on two opposite corners from the planned development.
Ferguson said the company initially intends to have the facility open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Leonard Carter, who lives across Kelly Street from the property, pointed out that there is a line of homes on Kelly Street across from the proposed convenience store and that the company’s plan calls for two exits from the parking lot onto their street.
“What about the people that live on Kelly Street, the traffic that will create, and the noise that will create, and the lighting? What about that?” Carter asked.
“A lot of our lighting is down lighting,” Ferguson said. He added that he lives in Regent Square where the nearby GetGo is not too bright.
“My house is right there, so that lighting is going to be right in my face. And all the noise and all the traffic that comes there is going to be right in my face,” Carter said. “I put my life savings into my home. I know Giant Eagle particularly doesn’t care, but it means the world to me and my house is right there.”
Carter continued that just because the company was buying a lot of properties that are vacant doesn’t mean that the people who live along the street don’t count.
“No one’s saying you don’t count, sir. And I am taking your feedback to heart; I really am,” Ferguson said. “It won’t be open 24/7 so the noise and traffic will stop at 10 p.m., which is better than 24/7. I know it’s not perfect, but it’s better than if I was sitting here saying it’s going to be open nonstop.”
Carter pointed out that the hours could change and be extended, which Ferguson said is possible.
Rashad Birdsong, executive director of the Community Empowerment Association in Homewood, requested that Giant Eagle use local residents to build the store and that local small businesses would be able to sell their goods there.
Ferguson said the new store will sell fresh produce, deli meats and baked goods.
Lucille Prater-Holliday pointed out that the neighborhood already has Dana’s Bakery, which has been on North Homewood Avenue for more than 40 years.
“We don’t want their business to be negatively affected by this,” she said.
Ferguson said the GetGo bakery will sell bread and doughnuts.
When Prater-Holliday pointed out that Dana’s Bakery is known for its doughnuts, Ferguson said he would make a note of it, so the company could look into buying Dana’s products to distribute from the store.
Ferguson said when the store is open he expects it will employ 10 full-time and 10 part-time employees, with the average wage for hourly workers now at $15 an hour. The store’s general manager would make between $55,000 and $65,000 a year.