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Former Penn Plaza Renters Demand Whole Foods, Amazon Pull Out Of East Liberty Project

EAST LIBERTY (KDKA) -- After years of controversy, Whole Foods Market is moving forward with plans to expand at Penn Plaza.

The grocery chain will move from its current location into a new redevelopment project with 50,000 square feet of retail space.

Frustration, however, is mounting surrounding the company's decision to return to the area's redevelopment project.

"We think that's an immoral, corrupt decision, and so, we want to remind the public that there is a permanent boycott on the site of Penn Plaza. We consider that to be holy ground," said Randall Taylor, Penn Plaza Support & Action Coalition.

Amazon will also move to the site. A site that once provided hundreds of people with affordable housing. The former Penn Plaza apartment complex was demolished to make room for retail space and luxury apartments.

"Residents were displaced from Penn Plaza as part of a pattern of moving people out of the City of Pittsburgh, and we have to keep Pittsburgh home. Pittsburgh can't be a city just for the rich. We need a city that's for everybody," protester Tracy Baton said.

Former Penn Plaza renters are demanding both Amazon and Whole Foods pull out of the deal or they want compensation for financial losses they incurred when they were forced out.

"Displacement is an epidemic in this city. And so, we have to continue to talk about affordable housing and that site was given to LG Realty to be affordable housing 50 years ago and they reneged on that promise," Taylor said.

Developers are planning to start construction on this redevelopment project this summer.

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