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Politics & Government

Councilman: Close or Sell Municipal Courts Building

Pittsburgh City Council may vote to shut down operations of the Municipal Courts Building this fall, a move that could save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

Council Finance Chair Bill Peduto said Pittsburgh must stop operating a building that's used only by other government bodies for their court systems, and the city should sell it if possible.

With a Second Avenue address next to the Allegheny County Jail, Peduto said the building isn't exactly prime real estate for businesses, so he doesn't have any potential buyers right now.

"However, even if we just put a padlock on the door, we'd be saving money," said Peduto.

The District 8 Councilman said the state and county courts systems, which occupy the building, could decide to buy it — but if they don't, Peduto wants them out before the 2012 budget takes effect January 1.

He said his effort to close or sell the Municipal Courts Building has the backing of Council, but he hasn't heard a response from the mayor's office.

"I would assume that they're on the same page with us," said Peduto. "This basically has been and continues to be a waste of money on the city's side."

Under former Governor Ed Rendell, the state offered to buy the structure from Pittsburgh for about $9 million, but that deal lagged for years and finally fell through this year under the Corbett administration.

Peduto said it's "just not fair" for Pittsburgh to be footing the bill for a building occupied by other government entities.