Weinberg v. City of Pittsburgh, Historic Review Commission

651 A.2d 1182 (1994)

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Weinberg v. City of Pittsburgh, Historic Review Commission

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
651 A.2d 1182 (1994)

  • Written by Jody Stuart, JD

Facts

In 1988, Alvin and Shirley Weinberg (plaintiffs) purchased Gateway House, a designated historic building, for $175,000. Gateway House had not been maintained or occupied since 1984 and attracted vagrants, vandals, and rodents. The Weinbergs intended to restore the structure and use it for a residence, but after learning that the house had serious structural problems, they decided to renovate the house for resale. The necessary cost of renovation was $650,000 to $700,000. Pittsburgh National Bank denied the Weinbergs’ subsequent application for a mortgage because the cost of renovation would exceed the value of the renovated residence. The Weinbergs then sought permission from the City of Pittsburgh, Historic Review Commission (commission) (defendant) to demolish Gateway House, which the commission denied. During the commission’s hearing, Lee Goldblum, a realtor, testified that Gateway House could possibly be sold as is for $200,000 to $300,000 but that there were no comparable properties on which to base his opinion. The Weinbergs appealed in state trial court, and the court reversed the commission’s decision. The commission appealed, asserting that the Weinbergs failed to prove sufficient economic hardship.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rodgers, J.)

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