October 17 — The old Rivertowne Pub & Grille along Route 30 in North Huntingdon is either a building unfit for human use, with shattered windows and a collapsed floor section, or a structure that can simply be repaired and resuscitated as a restaurant.
Township commissioners recently heard opposing views on the structure – offered by Pittsburgh landowner Prasad Margabandhu and Township Building Inspector Joshua Andrykovich – during a hearing regarding a notice issued by the municipality in August. , deeming the building unfit for occupation and declaring that the illegal structure should either be restored or razed.
A vote on the notice of conviction could take place at the next meeting of the commissioners on Wednesday.
Rivertowne closed the location at 14860 Route 30 in 2018 due to the company’s bankruptcy. Today, the structure is dilapidated and lacking in maintenance in addition to the site littered with garbage, debris, gasoline cans and vehicles in the trash, Andrykovich said. He also has multiple electrical violations with bare wires on the outside.
A contractor started working on the site in February 2019, but did not get a building permit, Andrykovich said. He issued a stop order. When that was ignored, he posted another.
Documents filed by Shivs Real Estate LLC indicate that Margabandhu is the owner. He received a conviction notice on August 12, giving him 30 days to obtain a building permit or face conviction proceedings, Andrykovich said.
Asked by Margabandhu, Andrykovich said he had not been inside the building for two years. Margabandhu defended the lack of work on the building, blaming it on restrictions linked to the pandemic.
“It seems like a very harsh punishment,” Margabandhu said, saying the issues with the building are “aesthetic” and not structural.
Margabandhu said he planned to pay the $ 22,000 he owed in overdue property taxes on the property.
Shivs Real Estate bought a 50% stake in the property from Rivertowne Brewing founder Christian Fyke for $ 7,500 in February 2019, about $ 512,000 less than Fyke and a business partner paid for the site. The restaurant’s equipment and liquor license were sold in January 2019 at a bankruptcy court auction for $ 107,500. Rivertowne Brewing, which operated four taverns, filed for bankruptcy in May 2018.
Margabandhu said he wanted to open a Winghart’s restaurant on the site.
In partnership with his brother Sivram, he owned Winghart’s Burger Beer & Whiskey Bar in Westmoreland Crossing, behind the Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield. Mall owner CBL Properties evicted Winghart’s in 2019 in a dispute over $ 91,000 in unpaid rent. The case went to Pennsylvania Superior Court.
When the brothers attempted to transfer a liquor license to the property in November 2019, they missed a township hearing on the application and did not reapply for the transfer.
Joe Napsha is an editor for Tribune-Review. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter.