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Luxury Condo Complex Sold At Sheriff’s Sale

April 7, 1986

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ An empty, 115-unit condominium complex that once was billed as the city’s ″most prestigious address″ was sold at sheriff’s sale Monday for $20,763.50 to a bank owed $30 million by the building’s developers.

Mellon Bank announced it has retained the Maywood Co. to market the 25- story Trimont, where the developers had failed to sell a single unit a year after erecting the angular tower atop a bluff overlooking the city’s three river valleys, downtown skyscrapers and rolling suburbs.

″It’s a spectacular building. It’s got a bad history but a great future,″ said David Maywood, touring the luxury complex at an informal news conference.

Preview sales will be offered this summer, and plans call for all the units to be sold within two years, Maywood said. Prices would be set by the market.

Trimont went on the auction block after the bank foreclosed against Washington Heights Associates, the partnership that built the condos.

It cost $50 million to build, and Mellon’s purchase and assumption of debt and penalties essentially gives it the building for nearly $30 million. One loan, now listed at $29.7 million with penalties, was in default since September.

The complex has space for 30 retail shops, two restaurants, a courtyard and a 400-car parking garage. Trimont was scheduled to open last spring, but marketing problems plagued developers and none of the units, priced from $179,000 to $650,000, was sold. Only 23 interested parties made down payments.

Penn Temple Corp., a general partner and affiliate of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., paid off $22.2 million in guaranteed loans and walked away from the project, saying it would be ″imprudent″ to continue.

Penn Temple based its decision on a report by Chicago consultant Bruce J. Frey, who said losses on the project could total $50 million even after all the units were sold because of the money needed to make them more marketable.

There was one other bidder at the sheriff’s sale, which officials said involved the richest piece of property ever sold at public auction in Allegheny County.

Dick Lampl, representing Milstein Properties Inc. of New York City, offered a bid of $5.3 million. Mellon then offered $10 million, prompting Lampl to withdraw his bid. Mellon was allowed to pay its original bid because it holds the mortgage. The $20,763.50 covers the county’s cost for holding the sale.

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