PA Commonwealth Court Orders Emergency Demolition of Condemned Buildings in Golden Triangle

PITTSBURGH, July 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In 2018, the Troiani Group first applied to demolish 209 First Avenue and 100-108…

PITTSBURGH, July 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In 2018, the Troiani Group first applied to demolish 209 First Avenue and 100-108 Market Street structures in Downtown Pittsburgh. Since then, bureaucracy within the City of Pittsburgh has prevented responsible private demolition.

Most recently in July 2021, the Honorable Commonwealth Court Judge Anne E. Covey issued opinion identifying that the City of Pittsburgh by its Board of Appeals quickly disregarded evidence presented and ordered the City of Pittsburgh to quickly re-process the Troiani Group’s emergency demolition application at First Ave and Market Street in Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle.

In the State Court opinion Judge Covey wrote that despite Troiani’s expert witnesses’ detailed testimony supporting demolition, the board denied the demolition plan with no analysis or rationale supporting its adjudication, and also that «in its decision, the board simply described the First Avenue structure and the decision under review, identified the witnesses who appeared, and provided non-specific overviews of the witnesses’ testimony.»

The opinion from the State Court identified that the City of Pittsburgh offered no evidence contrary to Troiani Engineers. The State opinion cites structural engineer’s Chuck Cornely inspection and demolition narrative which was peer reviewed by structural engineer Dirk Taylor. He reported that «No option exists for demolishing the [209] First Avenue structure safely, without first demolishing the [100-108] Market Street structures. If the First Avenue Structure falls on-top of the Market Street structure, the force of the collapse would send shrapnel of brick, glass and timber into the occupied buildings across Market Street.»

Taylor concluded the report by stating «that the [209 First Avenue] building is going to end up collapsing based on its current condition.»

Next, Demolition Contractor Tim Schaff explained that it is more predictable to demolish a building that is standing rather than a building that is in the beginning stages of collapse, stating «the longer demolition is delayed, the more risk.»

Now the City of Pittsburgh Permits and Licenses Department who denied Troiani’s request for Emergency Demolition has condemned the same buildings.

The condemnation notice cites that the 209 First Avenue and 100-108 Market Street properties are unsafe structures which is defined under the Code as: «one that is found to be dangerous to the life, health, property or safety of the public. Because such structure is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated structurally unsafe…that partial or complete collapse is possible.» 

Regarding the court’s recent decision, The Troiani Group’s President, Michael Troiani, commented: «We remain compelled to protect the life safety first and foremost and so should the city.» Troiani advocates that demolition be permitted to begin quickly by the Pittsburgh Permits and License Department based on the superior court ruling.

If the demolition is delayed, another Commonwealth opinion awaits in the appeal of the City of Pittsburgh Planning Commission denial of conventional (non-emergency) demolition applications.

Troiani believes that the state court will also determine that the City Planning Commission errored by citing that the 100-108 Market Street structures are «Designated historic structures» which is a defined term governed by Chapter 11 of the City of Pittsburgh Code. However, none of the structures involved have been designated as city historic structures.

A city historic designation requires hearing and action by Pittsburgh City Council and during the required public hearing the affected property interest owners may object. No such process has been conducted.

Troiani hopes that these superior court rulings will create precedent that encourages the city of Pittsburgh to consider evidence in future rulings.

«I need to coordinate demolition with the city in conduct of responsible private property duty and rights. I am compelled to protect the public and to create the opportunity of a safe and stabilized site in the Golden.» Michael Troiani persists: «it is time to close the right of way surrounding the site at Market and First and begin a controlled demolition to prevent uncontrollable collapse.»

About The Troiani Group: A family company which started in Pittsburgh in 1913.

The Troiani Group is a responsible generational capital group, who manages, maintains and develops real estate that honors place and creates improved quality of life.

Troiani’s are proud of several remarkable historically relevant renovations including their Historic Twin Plaza Building at 21st and Smallman in the heart of the Strip District.

Learn more at www.troiani.com.

For more information, please contact:

Michael J. Troiani

Troiani Group

(412)292-7828

michael@troiani.com    

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SOURCE Troiani Group