Deal brings luxury units to McKeesport
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, 1:06 a.m.
An apartment complex near McKeesport's downtown business district has changed hands for $1,685,000, according to a transaction recorded on Oct. 2 with Allegheny County officials.
MSK Investments LLC, with a mailing address in North Huntingdon Township, acquired the 1.8919-acre, 72-unit apartment complex from Trinity Property Holdings LP, a New Jersey company.
A spokesman for MSK declined comment but a veteran real estate agent hailed the transaction and its local ties.
“They will improve it,” Realtor Robert Baum said. His agency was not involved in the transaction.
Trinity acquired the complex six years ago from New Jersey resident Deborah J. Dart, less than three months after her $700,000 purchase of the complex was recorded in Allegheny County real estate records.
MSK's purchase price is well above the 2013 assessed value for the property, listed by the county as $1,101,500 with all but $90,000 of it being for the buildings on that complex.
“I would consider that very positive,” said Maury Burgwin, CEO of the Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Anytime you have a transaction that large it is a commitment to the city,” Mayor Michael Cherepko said. “There were a lot of delinquencies on that building that now have been paid because of that transaction.”
City administrator Matt Gergely said more than $60,000 in taxes and municipal service fees were owed to the city.
A sign erected near the complex touts “luxury apartment rentals” with one-bedroom and two-bedroom units and urges passersby to “come see why we're different.”
The rental office could not be reached for comment at presstime.
The MSK transaction is one of several significant ones in recent months in and near downtown McKeesport.
Cherepko said Dollar General will make a $1 million investment in its new location, the former KFC restaurant along Lysle Boulevard near the Coursin Street flyover ramp.
Dollar General is replacing a restaurant chain whose presence in the city dates back to 1987, when KFC National Management Co. bought the property for $330,000. It was sold to Morgan's Restaurants of Pennsylvania Inc. in 1999 for $350,000.
Allegheny County records show the assessed value of the former KFC location went down from $546,000 in 2012 to $513,800 in 2013.
The mayor said Speedway is investing “well over $1 million” in the new convenience store it is building along E. Fifth Avenue where Di's Cornerstone Diner formerly was located. Di's now occupies the former Burger King outside Olympia Shopping Center.
The Mill at McKeesport is in a neighborhood with a variety of housing options. Next door is McKeesport Downtown Housing, the name ACTION-Housing is giving to its overhaul of the former YMCA.
That complex has 84 single-room occupancy and bridge units for homeless and low-income residents. The Allegheny County departments of Human Services and Economic Development are ACTION-Housing's partners.
Because of the former YMCA's facilities, some of which were moved to a new building along Evans Street, the county still lists the use of the building as a recreational facility.
It was assessed in 2012 at $707,800 and this year at $1,517,800.
Across Sinclair from the former Y is the high-rise apartment building known as Midtown Towers, owned by Dynaxys LLC, doing business as Midtown Plaza Associates with a tax mailing address in Silver Spring, Md.
That high-rise building's assessment was lowered by the county from $2,168,900 in 2012 to $680,000 this year.
On the other side of the Mill, since 1969 Marvin F. Poer Co. has owned Hi-View Gardens, which straddles Coursin Street and Sixth Avenue. It uses the same Silver Spring tax billing address as Dynaxys LLC.
One portion has 3.9965 acres, claims 40-plus units, according to Allegheny County records, and was assessed at $1,193,800 in 2012 and this year at $1,870,200.
The other across Coursin Street covers 1.3939 acres, has more than 20 units, according to county records, and was assessed at $246,300 in 2012 and $384,100 this year.
These days signs outside Hi-View Gardens sport peace symbols and tell would-be tenants “our residents dig free utilities.”
Between the Mill and Hi-View Gardens, across Huey Street from the Mill, is the 200-unit high-rise McKeesport Towers complex operated by McKeesport Housing Authority for senior citizens.
The county assessment for that MHA property was $4,703,800 in 2012 and $6,374,500 in 2013.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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