PITTSBURGH (AP) – The bank holding the delinquent mortgage on the debt-ridden August Wilson Center for African American Culture is now in control of the property following a sheriff’s sale on Monday.
Dollar Bank, which has a $7.96 million mortgage judgment on the center, paid a little over $1,900 in taxes and costs associated with the sale.READ MORE: Frick Park Bridge Collapse: 10 People Injured, 4 Sent To Hospital
A consortium of charities was unable to complete an $8.85 million acquisition of the center by a Friday deadline due to an appeal filed by a security firm owed money by the five-year-old center. There were no other bids during Monday’s foreclosure auction.
The center honoring the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, who grew up in Pittsburgh and is best known for his 10-play cycle that chronicles black life in America, opened to great fanfare in a new 65,000-square-foot building in 2009. Proponents hoped that such a grand venue for theatre, dance and music would further aid the transformation of the city formerly known for steel mills.
But the center was hampered by poor attendance and struggled with budget deficits. A judge approved selling off the building to settle the mortgage default and other debts totaling about $10 million.READ MORE: At Site Of Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse, President Joe Biden Promises To 'Fix Them All'
A New York developer, 980 Liberty Partners, had proposed a 10-story hotel project that would have called for space-sharing and revenue-generating efforts. An Allegheny County judge instead approved a deal backed by the city, county and several charitable foundations, which also had the backing of black community leaders, to buy the center and keep it under control of a local nonprofit.
The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority, which helped coordinate the deal, argued that a sale to a private developer would violate deed covenants requiring the building be used exclusively as a black cultural center.
Attorneys for the bank and the foundations declined comment after the sale.
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