Wilson Center receiver criticizes redevelopment authority
The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority's support of a $4 million withdrawn bid on the debt-ridden August Wilson Center for African American Culture is contrary to its own mission to generate jobs, expand the city's tax base and improve Downtown, the center's court-appointed receiver said in court documents filed on Friday.
The $9.5 million bid from 980 Liberty Partners of New York is a “win-win” for the August Wilson Center and the city, receiver Judith K. Fitzgerald said. The proposal includes a hotel and space for a black cultural center.
The URA's website states the authority “encourages and directs private investment in business and business facilities in Pittsburgh,” said Fitzgerald, a former bankruptcy judge.
Gigi Saladna, a spokeswoman for the URA, declined to comment because of the pending litigation. Kevin Acklin, URA board chair and chief of staff for Mayor Bill Peduto, did not return calls or respond to a text message. Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald oppose selling to 980 Liberty Partners.
The URA and state Attorney General's Office argue the building's recorded deed restricts its use to a black cultural center until June 2021. Judith Fitzgerald said nothing in the deed or other documents says the property must be used solely as a cultural center.
Common Pleas Judge Lawrence J. O'Toole has scheduled a status conference in the case for Wednesday.
Two other commercial enterprises bid $3.25 million and $4.5 million for the building and its liquor license. Their identities have not been disclosed. A coalition of foundations submitted the $4 million bid but withdrew it when the receiver expressed her support for the Liberty Partners offer.
The Downtown center, named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright from the Hill District, is about $10 million in debt. The largest creditor, Dollar Bank, is owed about $7.7 million. The bank sought to foreclose on the center last year when it failed to make mortgage and insurance payments.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 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.
- No federal funds to help enforce Pa. ban on texting by drivers
- Allegheny County Council wants to hike members’ $3K expense accounts
- Newsmaker: Christine Pease-Hernandez
- Defying the odds makes this Thanksgiving particularly poignant
- Growth spurs expanded staff at Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
- Girl, 12, rescues 4-year-old sister from burning house in Homestead
- U.S. Steel to relocate corporate headquarters on former Civic Arena site
- Nude photos of Penn Hills High School students spur investigation
- U.S. Steel Tower tenants stand to benefit from company’s relocation
- Group’s proposed fracking moratorium for Allegheny County parks to go on council agenda
- Apartment development outlined for former Schenley High School in Pittsburgh