Penn Hills set to sell former administrative building for $151,000
Penn Hills plans to sell its old headquarters to a woman who has big plans for the building.
Renee Dolney, owner of Dolney Properties LLC, was the property’s sole bidder when she offered to buy the vacant building for $151,000.
Penn Hills opened up the property to a public bidding process at the end of August after the private route did not produce any offers.
Michael Pirollo, the municipality’s real estate agent hired last year, said there were a half-dozen or so interested investors, but no offers were ever made.
Dolney, of Wilkinsburg, said she’s in the business of preserving the area’s structural and architectural heritage — for residential and commercial properties.
She expects a pricey overhaul for the building but that ideally, when it is finished, it would be used as an educational facility.
Consultant Josh Caldwell of Pittsburgh Real Estate Investors Association said he imagines the building being a trade school.
“There’s such a need in the trades right now. And the schools are not turning people fast enough — there are some phenomenal jobs in the trades,” Caldwell said. “The building is already configured very well for that sort of occasion.”
Caldwell, a self-proclaimed “geek” of older buildings, said renovating the building will cost up to $1 million. It has a roof leak, asbestos insulation and poor electrical and heating components.
He said that is why the building is being sold for such a low figure.
“And the taxes,” he said.
The municipality is currently awaiting a decision by the Board of Viewers that will determine if the property will be reassessed. The property is assessed at $2.3 million, according to real estate records.
“That was holding up people on making offers. That’s a $7,000 a month tax bill,” he said.
Pirollo originally listed the property for $800,000. According to LoopNet, where it is still listed, the asking price is down to $275,000. LoopNet is a national website that lists commercial real estate.
The property is still technically for sale.
Council accepted Donley’s offer to buy the building for $151,000 at its Sept. 23 meeting. The governing body is slated to vote on an ordinance that would ratify the deal in October. The municipality’s home rule charter requires council to ratify an ordinance when it decides to sell municipal property.
Penn Hills has owned the building at 12245 Frankstown Road since 1937.
Penn Hills Manager Scott Andrejchak said the municipality first appealed for a lower tax assessment to the Board of Property Assessments and Appeals Review earlier this year.
“There was a hearing, but there was no change in the assessment,” he said.
The BPAAR decision prompted Penn Hills to file an appeal to the Board of Viewers, where the case has sat since August.
Andrejchak said the Board of Viewers has not made a decision yet and he did not know if a date for a hearing had been scheduled.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .