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HOMESTEAD (KDKA) — It wasn’t your traditional groundbreaking on Friday at the old Homestead Bakery on 7th Avenue in Homestead.
Instead of digging shovels into dirt, they used spoons and dug into ice cream.
It was a nod to “Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream,” which will be the anchor tenant of the new Homestead Bakery Lofts building.
“It is an ice cream parlor, which we haven’t had in Homestead since Isaly’s. Everybody likes ice cream. We all scream for ice cream,” says Homestead Mayor Betty Esper.
The building was built in 1902 and served as a bakery for about 50 years before it closed.
It had a variety of other lives after that, and by next year, some 117 years later, it will be completely renovated.
There will be 26 new apartments in the building’s upper floors.
On the ground floor, there will be space for Millie’s to make its ice cream on site.
“We started the business four years ago out of our home kitchen, so it’s pretty incredible to be here today in our new production space,” says Millie’s Co-Owner Lauren Townsend.
They will also have a tasting room where the public can check out Millie’s flavors, including some unique ones.
“We do want to have a few classic, traditional flavors because we want to be accessible to everybody. That’s kind of what Millie’s is really about. But then we also want to make a dynamic set of flavors that people are excited about”, says Millie’s Co-Founder Chad Townsend.
ACTION-housing is still looking for three more retail tenants to help fill out the lower level.
Once the $7.5 million renovation is completed in the spring, the building will be added to the National Register of Historic Places.
ACTION-housing Vice President of Real Estate Development Linda Metropulos says, “This is an important part of the history of the Mon Valley and of Pittsburgh and we’re celebrating that in terms of how we’re approaching the architecture and the renovation of the project.”