Panel recommends PMC Property Group be awarded bid for Schenley High School sale
A panel says Pittsburgh Public Schools should give the storied former Schenley High School new life as a luxury apartment building.
The seven-member district panel, which included district and neighborhood representatives and members of a development firm, on Wednesday recommended the school board accept a $5.2 million bid from PMC Property Development Group, a Philadelphia firm that is developing properties in Pittsburgh. The North Oakland school closed in 2008 because the board determined it would be too expensive to renovate and remove asbestos.
The company said it would build about 175 luxury apartments.
PMC owns Kenmawr Apartments in Shadyside, 201 Stanwix in Downtown, the Penn Garrison Lofts in the Cultural District and apartment buildings in Philadelphia and in six other states.
“I'm very concerned we'll lose children even more than we are now, if we're not careful about how we close buildings, open buildings,” said board member Regina Holley, who said she would vote against the sale.
Board member Joel “Skip” McCrea said the PMC proposal looks good, but he is withholding judgment until after a public hearing Feb. 25.
“It's going to put the building on the tax roll, and we'll generate money in wage taxes from people moving in,” he said.
The most visible push to buy Schenley came from alumni who wanted to open a private or charter high school to emphasize visual, audio and digital arts education. The group bid $4.1 million.
“I'm sure it will be a very nice place to live, but it won't shape lives,” said San Francisco entrepreneur Edward Alexei, a 1988 graduate of Schenley who led the alumni effort.
Ralph Falbo, who graduated from Schenley in 1955, bid $4 million to convert the structure into a high-end apartment building. Falbo said he hopes the prevailing bidder maintains the historic character of the building.
“Having graduated from there, I have a soft spot for it. You win some. You lose some,” Falbo said.
Kossman Development Co., which represents Provident Charter Schools, bid $4.6 million to open a charter school.
“We have other options we're looking into,” said Curtis Kossman, president of the company.
The review panel based its recommendation on such factors as price, historic preservation, time frame for development and the ability to succeed, said Pat Morosetti, commercial agent for Fourth River Development, which handled the bidding.
A week after receiving the bids, the board voted to obtain two new estimates for fixing the building, partly because of community opposition to the sale. Superintendent Linda Lane told the board she will have estimates by Feb. 15. Otherwise, the board is scheduled to award the bid Feb. 27.
Built in 1916 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Schenley produced notable graduates who include artist Andy Warhol, Nobel Prize winner Clifford Shull and basketball star Maurice Lucas.
PMC is scheduled to make a public presentation on its proposal at 6 p.m. Feb. 18 in Room A of the Administration Building in Oakland.
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- PixController of Murrysville honored by Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania for camera trained on Pittsburgh eagle nest
- Fallowfield Township increases road crew
- Rossi: Pirates must land Lester
- Beloved teacher at 3 Western Pa. schools hears from students across nation
- After years of lobbying, Big Ben has Steelers running the no-huddle
- Steelers hold high hopes for pass defense
- Layoffs possible at 5 state system schools, including Edinboro, Clarion
- Fire causes Blairsville bar to collapse, flames spread to neighboring building
- Pirates notebook: Trade rumors for Red Sox pitcher Lester still swirling
- Antiques appraiser shares expertise with Mon Valley crowd
- Steelers notebook: Brown calls Sanders’ comments about Roethlisberger ‘terrible’