PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The developer of the Terminal project in the Strip District is denying accusations that he used a local bookstore to get a deal with a national chain.
Dan McCaffrey told KDKA’s Paul Martino he regrets backing out of a deal with White Whale Books and is offering an apology.READ MORE: Anti-Violence Organizations In Pittsburgh React To New Law Enforcement Initiatives
McCaffrey pledged to fill at least 40,000 square feet of a terminal with local businesses. Until now, he’s kept that pledge. But the owner of a Bloomfield bookstore says he feels like he was used as a bargaining tool when his deal with McCaffrey went sour.
The White Whale Bookstore in Bloomfield is a family business that’s been in operation for 5 years. They were excited to open a second location at the new Terminal.
“We had signed a letter of intent, saying that we had basically come to terms and are moving forward,” said White Whale Books’ Adlai Yeomans.
So White Whale moved ahead with plans for its new store when suddenly the talks broke off.
“After a couple months of getting basically the runaround, we were told that we in fact were not. And there was another store that had come back to the table and they would be moving forward with them,” Yeomans said.
Posman Books, a New York bookstore, ice cream parlor and toy store is now moving into the Terminal. Terminal developer McCaffrey says Posman was his original choice but thought they had backed out. That’s when he courted White Whale. Then, suddenly Posman called up one day and said they’re ready to go.READ MORE: UPMC Doctors Trying To Raise Awareness About Benefits Of Naps For First Responders
“‘The drawings are done. The architects are done. Everything’s done, Dan. Sorry it took so long.’ And it was serendipitous. It wasn’t scheming on our part,” said McCaffrey.
Still, it was unexpected news for the White Whale.
“If they had been straight with us and told us they still had another store in negotiations, we just would have said ‘thanks, but no thanks,'” Yeomans said.
McCaffrey says he’s reached out to White Whale and tried to apologize.
“Mr. and Mrs. Yeomans, if you’re listening to this, call me. I tried calling you, left a message. You haven’t returned my call. One never knows what might evolve in a civil conversation,” said McCaffrey.
“I don’t think we have anything to say to each other. We’ve already moved on,” Yeomans said.
The owners of White Whale want other local businesses to beware. But McCaffrey says he hopes this episode won’t sour his negotiations with other local businesses.MORE NEWS: Steelers Will Not Hold Training Camp At Saint Vincent College This Year
The developer says talks are underway with a Brew Pub and a local restaurant for space at the Terminal.