GREENSBURG (July 20) The Board of Directors of the Westmoreland County Land Bank today announced they have reached an agreement with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) that addresses the last remaining lien on the former Monsour Hospital property located in the City of Jeannette. The agreement clears the way for plans to demolish the dilapidated structure, remediate the site and prepare it for reuse.
“To the credit of the PBGC, it worked cooperatively with the Land Bank to resolve the last significant issue in a more timely fashion than its norm to get this agreement in place,” said Land Bank Chairperson David Johnston. “We are excited to know that our work enables a high impact redevelopment project to proceed.”
The PBGC’s agreement will release the $3.2 million federal lien once the property is sold and all proceeds are allocated back to project costs. The PBGC may be reimbursed for any proceeds from the eventual sale of the property once all costs of the project, including administrative, legal, remediation and demolition, are covered.
“I am pleased that, through a team effort, this eyesore and dangerous attractive nuisance is one step closer to coming down and going back on the tax rolls,” said Commissioner Charles Anderson. “In order to get this far, the county formed a Land Bank and the efforts of its Board and staff is greatly appreciated. Our Congressional delegation have been helpful in removing some barriers to site clearance, while our state partners have secured some funding.”
“We are nearing the end of a long and sometimes frustrating journey,” said Commissioner Ted Kopas. “But soon, Jeannette will be free of this monstrosity once and for all. Just as exciting is the possibility of what is to come after demolition is complete. I’m excited by the possibilities for economic development at this prime location at a gateway to the city.”
This is the second major hurdle the Land Bank has had to overcome since taking ownership of the site in October 2014. Earlier this year, the Land Bank finalized an agreement with the IRS to waive its $4.7 million tax lien on the property.
According to Commissioner Tyler Courtney, “The Land Bank process allows us to refurbish a degraded piece of property and prepare the area to welcome new business and prosperity. It is a positive improvement for the City of Jeannette and Westmoreland County but more importantly, it is a great day for the neighbors that have had to deal with the property for years.”
The Land Bank acquired the property in 2014 through judicial sale, making it the showcase project for the new agency that was formed by the Westmoreland County Commissioners the year before. The contract to demolish the structure is expected to be bid in the next few months. Once cleared, the property will eventually be sold.
The Land Bank is also working in 13 communities in Westmoreland County to clean up blight and address abandoned or tax-foreclosed properties. The agency owns 11 other properties in addition to Monsour – some of which have already been resold and back on the tax rolls.
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