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Group Buys Penn Brewery Buildings

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Penn Brewery in the North Side has a new landlord and a promise of renovations in a deal that caps a community development group’s two-year struggle to buy the historic brewery buildings, officials said Wednesday.

The Northside Leadership Conference acquired the buildings yesterday for $1.18 million from E&O Partners LP of Downtown. The deal involves $400,000 in state tax credits, said Mark Fatla, executive director of the nonprofit group.

“This gives the community direct control of the buildings. This was always part of the plan, part of the larger strategy that included restarting the brewery,” Fatla said.

The deal was structured so that E&O Partners received $400,000 worth of state tax credits from the nonprofit, in return for E&O’s donating $400,000 in building value to the organization. The remainder of the purchase price was financed by Slovak Savings Bank in Brighton Heights and with money provided by the Northside Community Development Fund.

David J. Malone, president of DLB Management Inc., the general partner of E&O Partners, could not be reached. Malone is president of Gateway Financial, Downtown.

In January 2009, Penn Brewery owner Birchmere Capital of Wexford shut down the brewing operation and moved it to Wilkes-Barre after a rent dispute with E&O Partners. The restaurant closed in August 2009. Northside Leadership Conference tried to acquire the building at that time but could not compete a deal.

In November, former Penn Brewery CEO and founder Tom Pastorius and a group of investors acquired the brewery and the restaurant from Birchmere, with operations resuming in May.

“We think the Northside Leadership Conference will be a good partner,” Pastorius said. “Things are going great.”

The Northside organization will partner with Vinial Street LP, a local investment group, which will manage the buildings and sublet space to three dozen small businesses operating on the property, Fatla said.

“The goal here was always to preserve the tenants and keep the office space,” Fatla said.

Vinial Street has promised to make significant renovations to the buildings over the next year, while the Northside Leadership Conference will improve retaining walls at the site, Fatla said. Those renovations might cost more than $500,000, but the scope of the work has yet to be determined, Fatla said.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633