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Identity & Community

Local Foundations Buy August Wilson Center

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is offering praise for a deal between Dollar Bank and a group of regional foundations to sell the August Wilson Center.

“I am overjoyed to have the August Wilson Center for African American Culture back in the community’s hands, and we as a city owe thanks to all of those who worked to make it happen,” Peduto said.

The move comes just two days after the bank bought the building at Liberty Avenue and William Penn Place in downtown Pittsburgh at sheriff’s sale for $1,912.50. Dollar Bank held the delinquent $7.9 million mortgage on the building. 

A statement issued by the Heinz Endowments reads in part, “We are delighted and grateful that the ownership of the August Wilson Center is back where it belongs as a community asset.”

The foundations originally had a deal to buy the building for $8.49 million, but it was scuttled when one of the creditors of the August Wilson Center objected to the deal.    

“Work will begin immediately in assessing the building and creating new structures for the Center’s management and its programming with a view to the Center reopening by early-to-mid-2015,” reads the statement.

Peduto echoed the forward-looking nature of the statement.

“Our eyes now go to the August Wilson Center’s future and its reorganization," Peduto said. "I look forward to working with our partners to preserve this cultural asset for generations to come."

Not all of the $8.49 million paid for the center is foundation money. The Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority has set aside $1.65 million for the deal and the Allegheny Regional Asset District is earmarking $1.5 million to support the deal.