St. Nicholas Church can be demolished

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Demolition of the former St. Nicholas Church on Route 28 in Troy Hill can proceed.

The city of Pittsburgh has withdrawn its appeal of a previous court decision that allowed for demolition of the church.

"The war is over," said Mark Fatla, executive director of the Northside Leadership Conference, which championed a preservation group's effort to preserve and reuse the old church.

In July, Common Pleas Judge Robert Colville ordered that the parish be granted a certificate of economic hardship within 30 days. Last fall, the city's Historic Review Commission denied the certificate, a last-ditch avenue for demolition of a historic property.

City solicitor Dan Regan said today that the St. Nicholas parish had filed "a takings case," which is a claim that when the city did not issue a certificate of hardship for demolition earlier this year it in effect took the parish property.

A hearing before the county board of viewers was scheduled for next week.

"In my opinion, there was high probability that the city was being exposed to unnecessary financial risk, and I had to make a decision that I felt was most prudent course of conduct," Mr. Regan said. "I thought we had very real exposure to financial liability, and I weighed that against" the historic value that the city's Historic Review Commission tried to uphold.

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Diana Nelson Jones: or 412-263-1626.

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