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Jan. 24, 2014

August Wilson Center in Downtown Pittsburgh Could Be Liquidated

By Adriana Pop, Associate Editor

A court-appointed conservator recommends that the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in downtown Pittsburgh be sold and its assets liquidated.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that after conducting a thorough investigation, Judith Fitzgerald, a former U.S. bankruptcy judge, concluded that the center doesn’t have the money to pay off debt or fund normal operations or feasibility studies. The total accumulated debt is estimated to be between $9.5 million and $10 million.

Last September, Dollar Bank filed an action with the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, claiming that the center is $7.06 million in default of its mortgage. The museum is also in default of a $574,000 Urban Redevelopment Authority loan issued in 2012.

Named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright from Pittsburgh, the August Wilson Center opened in 2009. It offers multiple exhibition galleries, a 486-seat theater for performances in all genres, an education center for classes, lectures and hands-on learning, as well as dazzling spaces for community programs and events. A significant portion of the $40 million cost of the project was financed through public and private foundations.

In other news, a joint venture between Monroeville-based Valcott Enterprises and Cleveland-based multifamily developer NRP Group is planning to convert the former Overbrook Middle School in Pittsburgh into a senior living complex.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the community group Economic Development South has received a grant of up to $30,000 from the Urban Redevelopment Authority to study the project known as Overbrook Estates.

Under the proposed plan, Valcott would repurpose the school building into a 90-bed senior living facility, while NRP would develop a separate 50-unit independent living apartment building. Plans also call for infrastructure improvements, including a pedestrian bridge that would grant access to a nearby T station and bus line.

Photo credits: www.perkinswill.com

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