ShareThis Page

Allegheny County Health Department building sale expected

| Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009, 12:00 p.m.

An Allegheny County committee is expected tonight to approve the sale of the Health Department building in Oakland.

The four-story building at 3333 Forbes Ave. would be sold for $4.9 million to a group of four developers who plan to demolish it and build a hotel, office building, classrooms and parking garage.

"The building itself is in disrepair," said county Councilman Mike Finnerty, D-Scott, who chairs the Committee on Economic Development & Housing. "That's the biggest reason for selling it. It would cost us a fortune to renovate that place."

Sixty Health Department employees have offices in the building, on its third and fourth floors, including Director Bruce Dixon, epidemiology, emergency preparedness and response, and human resources. The lower two floors have been vacant since 2000, when juvenile court offices moved out.

"We don't know where we might go or when we might have to leave," said Health Department spokesman Guillermo Cole, who works in the building. "We have not been told."

A development group composed of Massaro Properties LLC, Langholz Wilson Ellis Inc., Kratsa Properties and Tasso Katselas Associates Inc. plans to buy the property. The developers referred phone calls to Gary Wilson at Langholz Wilson Ellis. He could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Finnerty said county officials haven't decided where to move the Health Department employees, though he mentioned the Clack Health Center campus in Lawrenceville as a possibility. County spokesman Kevin Evanto said another possibility is to rent space in the new building on Forbes Avenue, which might be built before the old one is demolished.

"We're still trying to figure that out," Evanto said. "The development of that property will take probably a year or two, so we have some time."

The Health Department has occupied the building since 1975.

Cole said the Clack Health Center has limited vacant space, mostly in a building that housed a day care center until 2003.

"That would have to be remodeled," Cole said. "That's a day care center; it's not office space."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me