Greensburg puts downtown retail, parking complex up for sale
By Bob Stiles
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
For sale: downtown Greensburg complex housing five businesses and adjoining parking areas for 121 vehicles.
City council has decided to sell 100-108 S. Pennsylvania Ave. — home to Mancuso Shoe Repair, Herbs for Your Health, Lapels: A Fine Men's Clothier, Golf For Her and Katwalk — along with two parking areas.
City officials are accepting sealed offers until noon Nov. 6, with a minimum consideration of $475,000, said city administrator Sue Trout.
They will open the bids at 12:30 p.m. then award any sale during the Nov. 13 council meeting, city planner Barbara Ciampini said.
The city has owned the complex, a lower-level parking area with 71 leased parking spaces and a surface parking lot with 50 metered spaces, since the 1970s.
“I think it's the consensus of the group that real estate management is something municipal government shouldn't be involved with,” said Councilman Randy Finfrock, director of administration, development and public operations.
Staff spends too much time overseeing upkeep and negotiating and maintaining leases, he said.
Mayor Ron Silvis agreed.
“We believe that the city of Greensburg should not be landlords,” he said. “It becomes a burden to us doing these leases and so forth. And should we be a landlord? I think we have more important things (to do) than taking care of that property.”
City officials have fielded offers for the property, which is catty-cornered from the Westmoreland County Courthouse, Silvis said. He declined to divulge names of those making offers.
“It's their building,” tenant Ron Mancuso said. “I guess they can do what they want.”
He said he and his wife, Bev, have made no decision about whether they might submit an offer. She declined comment, as did the owner of Herbs for Your Health.
Some building tenants have talked about banding together and putting in a bid, said Judy DiNardo, owner of Golf for Her.
“We're entertaining it,” she said.
The Mancusos and DiNardo approached city council in April, questioning rental rates the city gave newer tenants Katwalk and Herbs for Your Health.
Kevin Misick, Lapels owner, and Diane Nickoloff, Katwalk owner, either didn't return messages or couldn't be reached for comment. Nickoloff moved her business from West Second Street to South Pennsylvania last spring.
“We're checking out our options,” Trout said. If an offer is accepted, “it has to be in the best interest of the city.”
The city collected an average $24,784 per year for 2009-11 from the parking meters and nearly $47,000 annually from parking leases for the same three-year period, according to fiscal director Mary Perez.
Rents yielded an average $50,000 per year for the three-year period.
The city paid nearly $30,000 in operating costs for the three-year period, city records shows. City officials said they were unable to immediately include some minor utility costs in the operating expense total.
The city has spent nearly $25,000 since 2010 in capital expenses, including a water-line repair, interior remodeling, and pavement and gas-line work, according to city records.
In early September, a pipe that runs through Mancuso's basement ruptured, filling the basement with water. The pipe connects water to a sprinkler system used for the lower-level parking garage.
“Contractors did repair the line, the valve box and clean up the basement flooding,” Trout said in an email.
If bought by a private business or developer, city officials will be able to collect full taxes on the property and no longer compete with the private sector, Ciampini said.
Workers have put for-sale signs on the building. They will be putting information about the sale on the city's website and advertising the property for sale.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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