Is An August Wilson Center Hotel On The Horizon?

May 30, 2014

Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

The past couple of years have been a struggle, to say the least, for the August Wilson Center and its owners. The building opened five years ago, named for the famous Pittsburgh playwright and dedicated to celebrating the contributions of African Americans in Western Pennsylvania. 

But construction costs, poor management, and other financial deficits added up, and now the building is on the verge of being sold to a New York developer, with a plan to converting the building into a luxury hotel. 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Mark Belko discussed the struggling building’s future and explained what conservator Judith Fitzgerald meant when she said she was searching for a “global resolution."

“What she means is getting a consensus among all parties as to which direction the center should go. Obviously the foundations and the mayor, the county executive are interested in seeing the mission of the August Wilson Center continue. The developer, on the other hand, has said very bluntly that its primary goal is to be a hotel, with the secondary goal of finding a way for the August Wilson Center to continue in the building. So she, when she talks about a global resolution, is trying to bring those two elements together in some sort of comprehensive agreement.”

There is still a possibility that the hotel deal might not work out. If that is to be the case, Belko believes that Dollar Bank will foreclose the Center on June 30.

“They are asking permission from the judge to foreclose. There is a stay on the foreclosure that expires on June 30, so at that point, they would be ready to go ahead with the foreclosure unless the judge, for some reason, would extend that stay.”