One of the Liberty Street buildings at the center of the $500,000 anchor building grant controversy has been sold.
The Natale Building at 299 Liberty, once slated to be part of the Allegheny Center for the Arts in a project that unraveled under the now-defunct economic development entity GRO-Warren, has been sold for $52,500 to L & D Real Estate, according to Warren Main Street President Dan Ristau.
The next step, Ristau explained, will be to put a new roof on the building as well as replace the skylight which is "forthcoming," he said.
Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton
The Natale Building, originally slated to be part of the Allegheny Center for the Arts project, has been sold for $52,500, according to Main Street President Dan Ristau.
He explained that, once construction stopped last year amid GRO-Warren's financial demise, the second and third floors of the building were a "mess" and, he added, "Whoever bought it has a lot of work to do."
For the sale to go through, Ristau said that three years of back taxes on the building had to be paid. In addition, he noted that Main Street paid one of three years of back taxes on the larger Roberti Building, 225-227 Liberty, as a gesture of "good faith."
Looking to the future, "we are reviewing all our options," Ristau said, adding that those include legal options "potentially going after GRO-Warren" as well as the "culpability" of the City of Warren in its oversight of the original anchor grant.
The future is also clouded by the contract that GRO-Warren entered into with Eriez Construction, Inc., the contractor on the project. Eriez filed a mechanics lien on the property when payments stopped last year, but Ristau said "there was no lien when we went to sell it."
"It will take a while to figure out where we want to go," he said, emphasizing that Main Street's short-term goal is to protect the property and investments made on the property, including the installation of the skylight and insurance costs.