What Will an Expansion of Bakery Square Mean For East End Communities?
A meeting will be held at the Kingsley Association Monday evening to discuss Walnut Capital’s proposal.
In an effort to improve residential, office and retail development in the East End, Walnut Capital is proposing an expansion of Bakery Square in an adjacent 14-acre site that sits in East Liberty and Larimer.
The proposed location of expansion in the Village of Eastside Shopping Plaza is home to businesses such as the city’s only Trader Joe’s, as well as Staples and McDonald’s.
The development space also would include land cleared after the Club One fitness club closed in fall 2019 and the building was razed. This is directly west of Eastside Village.
Officials with Walnut Capital and the Village Collaborative of East Liberty did not return calls or emails for comment on the fate of the existing businesses.
The Village Collaborative of East Liberty will host a community meeting to discuss the proposal from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 7, at the Kingsley Association, 6435 Frankstown Road, East Liberty.
Bakery Square, a mixed-use development containing offices, LA Fitness, eateries, retail, hotel and residential properties, opened in 2009 at the former Nabisco Baking Factory in the 6400 block of Penn Avenue in East Liberty.
Zoning legislation to move forward with the expansion was introduced last month by City Councilman Ricky Burgess, D-Point Breeze. The city’s planning commission has been reviewing the proposal and it will soon be considered by council.
The 14-acre site, called the “Bakery District Connector,” would include public gathering spaces and improved street and traffic patterns, as well as additional mixed-use development.
Walnut Capital has been meeting with community groups, including East Liberty Development Inc. for nearly two years to discuss the concept.
Walnut Capital is also poised to help fund a $25 million effort to rehabilitate 100 homes in the city’s East End, with a focus on Larimer, in an effort to drive Black affordable and mixed-income homeownership.
“These investments will enable border-sharing communities to become more cohesive, vibrant mixed-income, lively neighborhoods — with the ultimate goal of creating wealth generation opportunities for Black residents through for-sale affordable home ownership,” Burgess said in a press release.
According to the Tribune-Review, the investment is crucial to the rebuilding of Larimer, Homewood and Lincoln-Lemington neighborhoods.
“Our goal is to not only make this the greenest development in the region, but to think big and extend a net-zero energy district into Larimer and East Liberty, helping to reduce energy poverty while improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions,” Walnut Capital President Todd Reidbord told the Tribune.