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Tax sale pushed back for Heidelberg property

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Allegheny County's decision to postpone the tax sale of the former Wright's Seafood Inn property in Heidelberg could help, not hurt, the planned Heidelberg Apartments project, developers said.

Andrew Shull, communications coordinator at ACTION Housing, said it requested the postponement of the tax sale from Aug. 4 to February so the nonprofit organization could pay off taxes on the parcel.

“This will allow us to buy the parcel without the tax sale,” he said. “If this does anything for our timeline, it accelerates it.”

Plans from ACTION Housing and the Autism Housing Development Corp. call for a 42-unit complex at the site, with half of the apartments for individuals with autism and the other half for low-income individuals.

Residents voiced mixed feelings about the project at a June town hall meeting with developers and local officials, with some voicing concern about the types of residents and some applauding the concept.

Florida-based Starfish Holdings bought the property in 2007 for $465,000.

Wright's Seafood Inn was established in 1898, but closed in 2004 after Hurricane Ivan caused extensive flooding. It opened again in 2007 under new ownership before it closed permanently in early 2011. The $12 million project would be funded by federal tax credits announced late last month coupled with a $1.5 million loan from Allegheny County Economic Development.

Heidelberg Manager Joe Kauer said the borough received information last week indicating ACTION had paid liens on the property due to the borough, taking the borough out of the tax-sale equation. ACTION Housing, based in Pittsburgh, paid $42,263.31 in liens to Heidelberg.

Shull said his organization plans to pay off the rest of the liens and, eventually, purchase the property.

“Doing so without a sheriff's sale is ideal for us,” he said. “It allows us to be certain we will get control of the site.”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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