URA Board of Directors Approves $1.37 Million Loan for the Expansion of Salem’s Market and Grill in the Hill District
Project continues to move forward with opening now scheduled for 2023
PITTSBURGH, PA (May 12, 2022) This afternoon at their May meeting, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) Board of Directors approved a $1.37 million Pittsburgh Business Fund loan for the expansion of Salem’s Market and Grill – a grocery store, restaurant and agricultural processor - in the Hill District. The URA loan is a key part of an overall funding package to finance leasehold improvements, equipment, inventory, working capital, and other expenses related to operations.
Located within a designated Avenue of Hope, Salem’s will provide the community with a much-needed grocery store in what is currently a food desert. Additionally, the project is expected to create more than 62 full-time, well-paying jobs, and several part-time positions.
“I am pleased to support the expansion of Salem’s Market and Grill,” said Mayor Ed Gainey. “As families across our city face greater challenges to balance housing, medical and transportation costs, meeting nutritional needs should be feasible. This project is an important step forward in ensuring that everyone in our city has access to fresh and healthy foods.”
Originally scheduled to open in August 2022, the date has been pushed to 2023 due to supply chain shortages and delays which are currently plaguing companies worldwide as a result of the pandemic.
According to Salem’s CEO Abdullah Salem, he has faced challenges getting steel beams, light fixtures, and other construction materials.
“The equipment and construction project will unfortunately be a 15–20-week delay,” said Salem.
"We are designing a whole new store for the community. It takes time to make sure the store is designed properly and meets the community’s expectations and needs.”
This isn’t the first time the completion of a URA funded project was postponed due to supply chain issues. The build-out of the Gallery on Centre space experienced numerous setbacks because of the shortage of construction materials and delays. Originally scheduled to open in late summer 2021, the Gallery on Centre ribbon cutting was held in March 2022.
Despite the delay, Salem indicated that his team would continue to interact with the community until the opening.
“Salem’s will continue to provide community engagement events throughout the summer to highlight our services and promote the market coming to the neighborhood,” said Salem. “We will engage with our new neighbors and hear their concerns about what they’re looking for in a new market. We’ll bring food and entertainment, and we are looking forward to discussing how Salem’s can help local organizations as well.
"We are also planning to host a community concert series and artwork project with local artists to be a part of Salem’s Market Mural. We’re extremely excited about the opportunity we’ve been blessed to have.”
"Although the setback is disappointing, it’s part of the reality we are living in right now," said City Councilman and URA Board Vice Chair R. Daniel Lavelle. "I’m excited that Salem’s continues to engage their neighbors and look forward to celebrating with all of our partners and the community at the ribbon cutting."
The URA sought applications to fill the vacant grocery store site, formerly SHOP ‘n SAVE, located at the Centre Heldman Plaza. The URA selected Salem's based on community scorecards. The URA entered lease negotiations with Salem’s Market & Grill, LLC; The lease was executed in January 2022.
Salem's has been a locally-run, minority-owned business for over 40 years.
Due to the loan being in excess of the $500,000 limit, the URA Board also approved waiving the PBF guidelines.
About the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA)
The URA is the City of Pittsburgh's economic development agency, supporting the City’s economic development goals, which are designed to create a city of inclusive opportunity for residents, stakeholders, and communities. The URA is committed to creating more housing that is affordable to the average Pittsburgher; encouraging more entrepreneurship and small business development; promoting inclusive growth and quality job creation; expanding neighborhood and main streets revitalization efforts; and developing a talented workforce that is equipped with the skills of the future.