PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Can it really be happening? A full-service grocery store in the Hill District off Centre Avenue just up from Crawford Square and Downtown Pittsburgh?

“Our funding is complete, and this patient and very deserving community will get what they waited for for so very long,” Cheryl Hall-Russell, the CEO of the Hill House Association, told a gathering of the community Thursday.

A panel of local leaders says a new Shop ‘n Save should be open by next summer.

“Our experience with inner city stores is what made this project attractive to us, knowing the needs of the community to shop for healthy and fresh foods on a daily basis,” said Jeff Ross of Ross’s Shop ‘n Save, who will develop and operate the store.

The key has been funding — $11.5 million for a 30,000 square foot grocery store, along with 6,800 square feet for additional retail stores.

So where is the money coming from?

“It’s quite a mixed pool. It’s governmental at all levels. It’s foundations, many foundations, and our private funder, of course, with the Pittsburgh Penguins,” Hall-Russell told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

Mayor Ravenstahl is optimistic that this store will succeed because this part of the Hill has changed, and Downtown residents will shop here, too.

“We have good quality housing opportunities, and Centre Avenue is on its way back. In addition, there are thousands of residents living Downtown that weren’t living there in the past, so we expect that they will also visit the store. There’s been a tremendous amount of study and looking at this project, and we’re more than confident that this store is going to work,” said the Mayor.

But it succeeds only if people shop there.

“This is your grocery store. Take ownership of this store. Take pride in this store. Support this store. Shop in this store,” added Robert Rubinstein, interim director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

With the money in place, ground-breaking for the new Shop ‘n Save is expected shortly after Thanksgiving — with completion some time next summer.

Renaissance Three Architects — who designed the complex — say it will be a LEED-certified or environmentally-sound building.

But as local leaders stressed several times, once open, the store will succeed only if residents in the Hill District and Downtown Pittsburgh make this their grocery store of choice.

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