South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Austin Vaught
Contributing Writer 

St. Basil's school building will be demolished for possible development


November 21, 2017

St. Basil's School building has been declared unsafe by the City of Pittsburgh and is facing demolition as early as December.

The St. Basil's School building in Carrick is now facing demolition as early as December after city officials announced new plans for the property at last week's Carrick Community Council (CCC) meeting.

The building has been declared unsafe by the City of Pittsburgh's Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspection (PLI) after several unsuccessful attempts to secure the property have led to multiple break-ins as well as fires inside the building.

Demolition costs are expected to be around $500,000 and funding for the project will come from a federal Community Development Block Grant. After demolition, the city will place a lien on the property for the full project cost.

According to councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, the property's current owner resides out of state and has been unresponsive to multiple citations and fines. Ms. Rudiak's office has been working with Economic Development South (EDS) to secure the property for several months.

Recently, the councilwoman's office worked with Jordan Tax Services to learn that taxes on the property have not been paid over the last three years. The property was then sent to Sheriff's Sale, which will open the door for a nonprofit such as the CCC to acquire it in six to nine months.

The councilwoman and EDS executive director Greg Jones have spoken with several developers about potential projects involving the building, but its size and condition would make redevelopment costs too high.

"There's no deal out there that would work well for this," Mr. Jones said. "Carrick is not the worst market in the city. It's a good market. But when you're starting at negative $2 million on a property like that, it's hard to make the dollars equal zero."

The hope is that the building's demolition will make the property more appealing for development opportunities in the coming years; however, the councilwoman added the lot's future will ultimately depend on the work of the CCC.

"Really, it's in your hands for you all to collectively decide what to do with this useful space that's a block away from Brownsville Road." Ms. Rudiak said.

According to PLI director Maura Kennedy, following demolition, the lot will be turned into a field or a community resource in the meantime. CCC members suggested multiple concepts including a dog park and overflow parking for the new library.

"We're not at all intending to leave it as a lot of rubble," Ms. Kennedy said.

Ms. Kennedy added construction could begin in December, as guidelines associated with the federal grant require project completion within a specific timeframe.

She also said demolition might be disruptive to residents near the property and will require longer daytime hours than usual to ensure a timely completion.

Prior to the St. Basil announcement, the CCC held its annual election night in which eight new board members were elected to a three-year term following short presentations from each nominee.

Carol Anthony, Sherry Miller Brown, Robert Chaffin, Dave Siwa, Theresa Seibert, Scott Seibert, Michele Traficante, and Trish Hatfield all secured at least the 18 minimum votes required for election to the CCC board.

The first nominee to speak was Ms. Anthony. She has been a Carrick resident for 34 years and currently organizes the Carrick/Overbrook Block Watch and is a member of the Carrick/Overbrook historical society.

Sherry Miller Brown is a lifelong Carrick resident and has lived on the same street for 64 years. She attended St. Basil's School and recently retired as a licensed psychologist.

Robert Chaffin has lived on Brownsville Road for the last year and a half. His goal is to improve the community through his work with the CCC. He added he doesn't want his neighborhood to be known for the opioid crisis.

Dave Siwa is a proud Carrick resident and is interested in working with young leaders and building the community. Mr. Siwa works in the ESL department for Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Theresa Seibert was not able to attend the meeting, but prepared a handout for all members that detailed her experience working with real estate tax at the Allegheny County Treasurer's Office. Ms. Seibert grew up in Carrick and returned to the community three years ago.

Scott Seibert has been a Carrick resident for three years. He recently renovated a house on The Boulevard and fell in love with the community. He currently works in the roofing industry, and has a "hands-on" approach with his work.

Michele Traficante offers 33 years of community development experience and 30 years of governmental experience. She is a current Carrick resident and urged all CCC members to become involved and be part of the solution.

Trish Hatfield is a former CCC board president with three years of board experience. Ms. Hatfield decided to run for another term after seeing recent media coverage surrounding the community's opioid problem.

Each of the new member's board terms will begin January 1, 2018.

For more information on the Carrick Community Council, visit


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