Pitcairn's Young Hotel for sale

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The Young Hotel in Pitcairn will remain on the market after a potential buyer from California recently backed out of a deal, borough officials said.

Police have responded to 99 calls there in the past two years that ranged from drug activity to assault, while tenants twice were evacuated from the apartment building due to potential safety concerns.

Property owner Don Young Jr. of Irwin said he decided to sell the building because of what he described as unfair treatment by borough officials.

For instance, Young said, an order last month to evacuate tenants based on falling concrete from the front of the building was a “cosmetic” issue and was not safety concern.

A code-enforcement officer has since determined the chunk of concrete was not necessary to maintain the structural integrity of the building.

“For some reason, Pitcairn thinks I'm a bad person, and they want me to leave,” Young said.

Pitcairn Public Safety Committee Chairman John Bova said problems at the building have resulted in forced evacuations and increased police calls.

“Our job is to police, improve and do what we can for Pitcairn,” Bova said.

“Its not a personal thing. His building consumes a lot of our time and energy.”

Borough officials have said they would like to see a property owner who will keep the building within the building-code requirements and keeps closer tabs on the property.

Young LLC purchased the building for $192,500 in 2006, and the previous owner purchased the building for $75,000 in 1992, according to Allegheny County records.

The building is listed for $239,000, according to the Coldwell Banker website. Real estate agent Kim Raible, of Coldwell Banker, could not be reached for comment.

Tenant John Mance, 69, said tenants who have lived in the building for decades refer to it as “The Young and the Reckless” because people frequently move in and out of it.

“The people from the borough council have been on us for quite a few years because of the people who drink and use drugs in the building,” Mance said.

The 2014 assessed value of the property is $180,000, according to Allegheny County property records.

Both Young and borough manager Annette Dietz said a potential buyer for the property recently backed out of the deal, for reasons unknown to them.

Rental rates range from $350 to $400 a month, with nearly all of the 30 units occupied, said Councilman Kevin Dick, who served as the Public Safety Committee chairman in 2012.

Based on the rent and occupancy rate, Bova said, he's surprised the property hasn't sold.

“It's a revenue-generating dream,” Bova said.

An investigation of the interior of the building two years ago — at the behest of the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office — resulted in what officials suspected was an insufficient fire-alarm system and fire escape.

Their suspicions were confirmed by a licensed building-code inspector, and tenants were forced out of their apartments for nearly a month until Young addressed the hazards.

Young said that was about that time he advertised the property for sale.

He said a code-enforcement officer hired by the borough recently inspected the interior of the building. Young said a few leaking pipes and old tiles have since been replaced.

Dietz and Dick said they were not aware of an interior inspection since the time the building was listed for sale.

Dietz said borough officials have advised residents to inform officials of any buildings for sale in Pitcairn because officials then legally may inspect the interior of the building to help ensure the safety of future tenants.

“Sometimes, code enforcement is ground zero to keeping a community safe,” Dietz said. “It takes everyone working together.”

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2369 or klawson@tribweb.com.

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