An abandoned, rundown apartment complex on Brownsville Road in Carrick has left neighbors frustrated.
"We keep going to Carrick council meetings and they keep updating us, and nothing ever happens," said Daniel Roland, who owns a nearby business.
In 2013, raw sewage and other code violations prompted the Allegheny County Health Department to cite then-owner Davin Gartley and shut down the complex, forcing out the tenants living there, many of whom were Bhutanese refugees.
"The frustrating part about this is that it really brings the neighborhood down. It's bringing property values down, it's attracting crime," said Natalia Rudiak, a Pittsburgh councilwoman.
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Since the building was shut down, the city has been trying to take over the property so a developer can revitalize it.
"Constantly, we have run up against legal hurdles, which are artificial in nature, which delay the process," said Paul Leger, city finance director.
With nearly $500,000 in back taxes and a million-dollar mortgage through the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the property was scheduled for treasurer's sale in the spring of 2017. But just hours before the sale, the new owner, Prasad Margabandhu, filed for bankruptcy, causing another delay in the process.
"We keep being stymied by these tricks, these legal tricks, and every trick in the book to keep the property," said Rudiak.
"I think the city should try to help people get properties going, versus trying to take them away from them," said Prasad Margabandhu.
Margabandhu bought the property from the previous owner. Target 11 previously investigated other properties owned by Margabandhu in Swissvale and Pittsburgh, because of their rundown condition and numerous code violations. Margabandhu blamed some of the problems on squatters and told Channel 11 he's working on fixing the properties, and said he's intent on working through the bankruptcy and redeveloping the apartment complex.
"I'm going to do what's right for the community," said Margabandhu. "I have the same intentions as the city would have, but the city should work with me rather than fight me. I mean, there's no reason to fight, we're all on the same team."
Cox Media Group