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Allegheny County to sell Squirrel Hill site where Poli restaurant once stood

| Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, 11:59 p.m.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review
Poli’s Restaurant, a fixture in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill area since 1921, has been closed since 2005.

The long wait to determine the fate of the vacant Poli's Restaurant property in Squirrel Hill may be near an end.

Allegheny County is foreclosing on the two-story building at 2607 Murray Ave., listing it for sale in the Allegheny County Sheriff Sale on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

The county claims the property owes $44,331.68 in back taxes. It lists Lisa M. Firman as the executrix of the estate of the late Dolores M. Poli as the responsible party for the property, a fixture in Squirrel Hill since 1921.

The foreclosure includes adjacent vacant property and additional undeveloped triangle-shaped property on Murray Avenue, used for parking. All are owned by Poli's Restaurants Inc., and each owes in excess of $1,800 in taxes.

“The county is selling the three properties as one, and we anticipate some interest in the property,” said Attorney Joseph W. Gramc of Goehring Rutter & Boehm, representing the county.

A separate site, at 5715 Forward Ave., Squirrel Hill, used by Poli's for parking, was sold in April to the owners of the adjacent Lifetime Auto Center by the Dolores Poli estate for $200,000.

The restaurant, which closed in December 2005, was part of a proposed $50 million development in 2008 that was to include a hotel, restaurant, retail stores and 20 residential condominiums.

Both Poli's and the Squirrel Hill Theatre would have been demolished along with another building, located between them, which was occupied by several tenants, including a karate school.

The developer was Cambridge Venture Partners, consisting of R.E. Crawford Construction of Pittsburgh and several local investors.

In 2010, Cambridge dropped the project.

“Cambridge told us they were unable to secure financing for the condominium portion of a building,” said David Tkacik of Equity Real Estate of Squirrel Hill.

His company, along with Howard Hanna Commercial Real Estate, unsuccessfully attempted to sell Poli's.

Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7843 or sspatter@tribweb.com.

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