CBRE is marketing the nearly 4-acre parcel on Grandview Avenue adjacent to the Monongahela Incline after failing to sell the land during an auction on Oct. 1 in which the opening bid was listed at $2.5 million.
Chicago developer Steven Beemsterboer decided to put the property up for sale this summer after giving up his quest to build a huge hotel and residential development at the site, which once held the Edge Restaurant.
At one time, Mr. Beemsterboer had pitched a project that featured a 163-room hotel, up to 58 condos, a two-story lounge, an observation deck, plaza, scenic outlook, and a 472-space parking garage.
He later scaled back the development to include a 125-room hotel, 285 apartments, and 12 townhouses.
Mr. Beemsterboer backed out of the $100 million project after failing to secure the financing he needed to get it started. Before doing so, he assembled 27 lots into one 3.96-acre parcel and oversaw the demolition of the Edge Restaurant, which had become an eyesore in the neighborhood.
Neither he nor Cynthia Kamin, the CBRE senior vice president who is listing the property for sale, could be reached for comment.
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Ilyssa Manspeizer, executive director of the Mount Washington Community Development Corp., said the property didn’t sell at the auction because no one offered at least $2.5 million for it.
Since then, the development corporation has had conversations with “several highly qualified and interested developers,” both national and local. Ms. Manspeizer would not identify them. She said there were a “variety of ideas” under consideration but would not elaborate.
“There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to make sure we get the right developer, one who is willing to work with the community and the city on the appropriate vision for the site,” she said.
Even with the loss of the Beemsterboer development, the community continues to prefer a project that includes a hotel and a mix of housing and retail as well as some public space.
“We have confidence in the site and the quality of the site and what can be developed there. We are working hard to make sure it’s the right team that will be developing it now,” Ms. Manspeizer said.
The site has seemed to defy development for two decades. In addition to the Beemsterboer development, a Ritz Carlton Hotel was proposed at the location in the mid 1990s, but lost out to community opposition.
Despite the setbacks, the Mount Washington CDC is still bullish on the property.
“Of course, we wish we would have been celebrating the ribbon cutting by now. We also understand that development like this takes a very long time and the right mixture of partners. We’re doing everything we can to get there,” Ms. Manspeizer said.
Gregg Broujos, managing director and founding principal of the Colliers International real estate firm in Pittsburgh, said the site should be “incredibly marketable” given the views and proximity to Downtown.
He envisioned a development that includes a couple of floors of office, a hotel and some retail. “I think a boutique hotel would be really desirable at that location,” he said.
Mark Belko: email@example.com or 412-263-1262.
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