Essential Pittsburgh
7:17 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Will Bids for the August Wilson Center Reflect What the Community Wants?

The gleaming performing arts space known as the August Wilson Center for African American Culture is for sale, unable to pay its bills. But many wonder why it was allowed to get to this point.
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

The ongoing plight of the August Wilson Center continues with some bidders showing interest and others withdrawing. 

Pittsburgh City Paper reporter Rebecca Nuttall has been covering the ongoing news of the troubled arts center and the latest group of possible bidders.

“The first bid that the public heard about was a $4 million bid from three Pittsburgh foundations, the Heinz endowments, the Pittsburgh Foundation and the Richard King Mellon foundation. And a lot of the community seemed to support that a bit.

Then the conservator announced that the highest bid came from a commercial company and it was $9.5 million and they sought to build a hotel on top of the center. But they would still allow the August Wilson Center to maintain operations in the lower half of the Center, and would let them use the theater for 120 days out of the year. But it would be for a nominal fee.

On Tuesday, I believe, the County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Mayor Bill Peduto came out and they said that they were going to call for the removal of the conservator, because the conservator expressed that she would be taking the $9.5 million bid from the commercial company.

They [Fitzgerald and Peduto] feel that the $40 million that taxpayers have put into it, different foundations have put into it, far outweighs Dollar Bank's interest. And they would like to see a conservator come in who would have the taxpayer's best interest and the August Wilson Center's best interest at heart."

The solution to the August Wilson Center's current state is still unclear and Essential Pittsburgh will continue to keep you up to date on any changes with the situation.