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Pittsburgh Public Schools urged to sell Administration Building in Oakland, close others

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By Bill Zlatos
Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

The company marketing Pittsburgh Public Schools' closed buildings told district officials Tuesday night that they have plenty of untapped assets.

Foremost among them might be the cash-strapped district's offices in Oakland.

Fourth River Development suggested selling the building on South Bellefield Avenue.

Pat Morosetti, sales and leasing manager for the company, declined to estimate how much the building is worth but noted that Oakland is regarded “as a very strong market.”

“It's important to discuss the building as we determine the assets the district has,” explained Peter Camarda, chief financial and operations officer for the district.

But many board members were cool to selling the Administration Building.

“I for one would not — not — want to get rid of it. It's a city treasure,” said board member Jean Fink.

Board member Regina Holley wondered whether the district could rent the fourth floor and continue to use the other three floors.

“This is a fine building,” she said. “I hate to sell it.”

Renting properties for billboards and communication towers and retaining mineral rights on land were other recommendations.

The company identified four schools as drawing the most interest: Burgwin, Columbus, McCleary and Morningside. Potential buyers are considering residential or community purposes, such as a senior center. Propel Schools would like to make Columbus a charter school.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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