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West Deer condominium complex turns financial corner, could be expanded

Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
The entrance to the Hunt Club at Grandview Estates on Allison Road in West Deer as photographed on Thursday, April 3, 2014.

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By R.A. Monti
Monday, April 7, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

Six years ago, the Hunt Club at Grandview Estates in West Deer was cut down at the knees.

The defunct Export company that built the condos, Links Development Co., had the property foreclosed on by what was then National City Bank because it owed $2.5 million.

On top of that, a local landscaper took the properties to sheriff's sale, because he was owed more than $1 million.

All of the condo owners were up to date on their mortgages but faced losing their homes.

But condo association manager Richard Conley said he and his neighbors refused to go quietly.

“Our whole situation has turned around 180 degrees,” Conley said. “Now, we have money in reserve.”

Earlier this year, Conley and the condo association took control of the property from PNC Bank, which bought National City in 2008.

“We had a good spirit of cooperation between PNC and us,” Conley said. “It came together just fine.

“We started initial discussions about two years ago and resolved it earlier this year.”

The condo complex's 80 units are occupied, Conley said.

The association will soon accept bids to develop the rest of the land.

Conley said that there is enough room to build 64 more condos.

The 55-acre site is worth about $1.12 million, according to Allegheny County tax records.

Conley said the association bought it from the bank for $10.

“They wanted it off their hands,” Conley said. “We are paying them a commission if we're able to attract a developer. When we sell a condo, we'll pay PNC a commission for a couple of years.”

PNC spokesman Fred Solomon refused to comment for this story, saying the bank doesn't comment on properties it owns or sold.

As for the Hunt Club, if new properties are built, Conley said the association shouldn't have trouble filling them.

“People are calling us asking when something might be available to buy,” he said. “We're very satisfied with the position we're in right now.

“We're looking forward to making it more secure and developing a better community.”

Conley said he's proud of the way his neighbors have fought during tough times.

“When we went to (buy the property) we had to have 100 percent ‘yes' votes,” he said. “And, not one person said ‘no.'

“No doubt it made us a stronger community,” he said. “It's a great place to live, we have good neighbors and we cooperate together.

“We've got a good thing.”

R.A. Monti is a freelance reporter for Trib Total Media.

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