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Re: “Art of the Deal

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Re: “Video game Night in the Woods tells a mysterious tale of Western Pennsylvania

We recently started playing Night in The Woods. Very good art and a colorful cast of character. Really enjoying it.
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Posted by BlockHead Gaming on 02/23/2017 at 3:54 PM

Re: “Most Listable City

As a local artist with an interest in innovation and experimentation I was at first cynical about Pittsburgh. Though lots of attention was devoted to the arts, almost all was of the conservative variety, designed to feed the ego of establishment types. Over the years, however, I've noticed a heartening change, especially in the city's growing openness to originality and diversity in the arts. And contrary to what the author assumes, I've also noticed that many gifted and original artists have moved here -- partly for the low cost of living but also the exciting art scene. My only complaint is with the Pgh. Symphony, which continues to favor old chestnuts and seems reluctant to program even "modernist" works, not to mention anything contemporary -- aside from the occasional, and almost invariably lame, commission.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Victor Grauer on 02/22/2017 at 10:39 PM

Re: “"Robot Man" and World-Record Hitchhiker

This story has a (broken) link to "Archived story about DeVon Smith". Any chance you can get that fixed? I'd love to (re-)read the 2001 story!

Posted by Will Simmons on 02/22/2017 at 4:20 PM

Re: “Three Pittsburgh psychics make predictions for 2016

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Posted by Margret on 02/16/2017 at 9:30 PM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

This article is the definition of #fakenews.

19 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by pghre on 02/16/2017 at 5:58 PM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

This article is a new low for the city paper. You are attacking Wylie for revitalizing a distressed neighborhood. Do you realize how bad things had to be for a property to be sold for $1000???? I am so glad that Wylie brought their talents and vision to this neighborhood. Seems to me that Wylie is not the only business to benefit from this boom in Lawrenceville. Amoral? This is textbook real estate 101. Perhaps the author should sit in on a business course some day and learn the real definition of "Land Speculation."

24 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by BD330 on 02/16/2017 at 4:29 PM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

If I was looking to rent in Lawrenceville and read this article - I would absolutly not rent from them. If the goal of this article was to be destructive to their reputation you succeeded.

7 likes, 16 dislikes
Posted by humm..... on 02/16/2017 at 3:55 PM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

To blame the success or failure of a neighborhood on a single for-profit entity is ridiculous, and marginalizes the hard work of Lawrenceville Corporation, Lawrenceville United, Lawenceville Stakeholders as well as the hundreds of individuals who took a chance on a not great neighborhood. If Wylie wasn't there, someone else would have bought these properties, perhaps not even a speculator, but individuals who had vision for the neighborhood. And perhaps that would not have been an altogether bad thing.

The devil is not Wylie, lay the blame on the people who are bat #*@( crazy paying a fortune for these properties in Lawrenceville. No person in their right mind spends over $300k on a tiny 2 bedroom home with no on-street parking regardless of how nice the granite counters or hand scraped hardwood floors are. Yet it regularly happens.

I've lived in Lawrenceville since 1995 when I bought a home there. I own a corporate lodging business with properties in L'ville and Bloomfield. I've seen and benefited firsthand from the current real estate boom. But even I realize a real estate market cannot grow exponentially for an infinite amount of time. There comes a point where people come to their senses and refuse to pay $200k+ for a 600 square foot condo. When the bubble bursts and those homeowners are now under water, those granite counters are going to gleam a little less.

7 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by ransomja on 02/16/2017 at 3:38 PM

Re: “OxyCide is supposed to make hospitals cleaner and safer for patients, but what about the staff that has to use it?

We currently us it where I work. I have had a rash on my arm as soon I started using it. It feels like a burn (looks red & raw) and the longer I use it it just gets worse. I have been told to use benadryl. Runny & watery eyes/noses, bloody nones, headaches and trouble breathing all of it. Not only myself but several people. When in the prosses of cleaning people walk by complaing of the smell, it's terrible. When thinking about it makes a person think not only are the germs being killed but so are we...
I would like to see manager's and supervisors using this stuff for 8hrs a day or longer and not notice what issues arise.

Posted by S. Sanchez on 02/16/2017 at 2:57 PM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

@RyanDeto

Your piece was very poor journalism.

It wouldn't have taken you 2 minutes to research Anna Sekine's Claim on the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania Website. Do reporters still do research? Or do they report half the story to create a controversy where none exists.

Anna's claim: Wylie stole her security deposit
Anna's response: She filed suit at the magistrate.
Court response: Her claims were baseless because she had no proof, and Wylie had proper proof showing damage.

Obviously, Anna had damaged the property and her security deposit was used to remedy the damage. That is why security deposits exist. AND the courts agreed with Wylie.

https://ujsportal.pacourts.us/DocketSheets/MDJ.aspx
MJ-05231-CV-0000202-2016

28 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Aaron Chaney on 02/16/2017 at 2:12 PM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

Robert, I can see where you're coming from if you only analyze county sale records and jump to conclusions from there, but as you've mentioned, there's a much larger picture that includes holding costs and renovations. I think BGC did a nice job of responding to your concern with hard numbers.

Sure, you could take into account any expenses Wylie also incurred when doing their flips. What's important to note, however, is that Wylie is a private developer that exists to make profit. BGC has a completely different incentive for land acquisition and is held accountable by local government. If we were making huge sums of money off any of the land we've acquired from the city they'd stop working with us.

ELDI has a for-profit arm of their organization that handles their real estate development, hence why you can't compare our models. It's apples and oranges.

5 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by Rebekkah Ranallo on 02/16/2017 at 1:08 PM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

just sayin too, the article took none of these factors into consideration for wylie holdings. its easy to see this stuff in black and white on records, but as you mentioned above, theres a lot more to it.

16 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Robert B Swope on 02/16/2017 at 12:33 PM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

Please consider the following message from Rick Swartz, executive director of the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation (BGC):

In response to Robert Swope's comment, let me say that there may be a Community Development Corporation (CDC) in town that somehow managed to acquire a property from the city at some point in the past and then flipped it for a substantial profit. The Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation (BGC) is not that CDC. We actually have taken one property in this manner from the city and re-sold it within a few months to a private buyer. It's at 4924 Dearborn Street in Garfield. As Mr. Swope correctly notes, we were able to obtain the vacant house from the city for $1,000. We incurred another $2,447 in settlement costs on top of the $1,000 purchase price. When we re-sold it, we incurred another $787 in closing costs. The buyer paid us $7,000, but that was only after we issued a public RFP for prospective buyers to respond to, and had cleaned it out completely at a cost to us of over $2,000. We netted less than $1,000 in the end for all of our trouble.
Paul Leger, the city finance director, has no intention of letting any CDC abuse this process. And, as the market begins to recover in a number of distressed neighborhoods, it may become less necessary (hopefully) for CDC's to ask the city to take vacant, tax-delinquent houses on their behalf. Folks like Mr. Swope will be able to buy them more swiftly from their owners, assuming they can find them. For us, though, it's a 2-year-long process at best, and the property usually suffers further damage during that period.
The principal value in the city doing this is not to find a way for CDC's to enrich themselves, but to remove liens totaling, in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars that could leave the property vacant and blighted for a very long period of time. These sales, by the way, are open to other bidders, and we have been to court-supervised sales where other parties have outbid the CDC for the property that the city had taken on their behalf. It was all fair and square. Just sayin'.

8 likes, 13 dislikes
Posted by Bloomfield Garfield Bulletin on 02/16/2017 at 11:59 AM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

Rebekkah, here is the information you requested for BGC transfers:

4906 Rosetta bought by BGC for 33,070 in 2013, sold for 131,500 in 2016
5122 Penn bought by BGC in 1992 for 80,000, sold for 420,000 in 2016
4924 Dearborn, City of Pgh to BGC for $1000 in 2015, sold by BGC in 2016 for 7000
5446 Broad St bought by BGC in 1994 for 17,500, sold by BGC in 2015 for 93000
a host of vacant lots purchased for $100 to $1000 each from City of Pgh to BGC, then resold to a development company for an average of $3000 each.

there are nearly 500 land transfers from BGC alone.

14 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Robert B Swope on 02/16/2017 at 11:52 AM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

I am so shocked by this e-mail and the negativity. Guys, they invested millions in renovating Pittsburgh and make this neighborhood better. I am in shock for the lack of consideration for people that took risks and eventually help to make the city better.

The rhetoric and logic of this article is so easy and flawed that I am even wondering how it can be seriously published in this paper.

(And note that Wylie's agreed to reply to the CPs question .... what an asshole!)

24 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Julien on 02/16/2017 at 10:01 AM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

Real-estate speculation can be a very amoral enterprise? Really? Another amoral enterprise is writing an article where you first draw a conclusion, then do your research, and ignore any research that does not support your original hypothetical conclusion. But I guess vilifying successful people is always easy, low-hanging fruit for a writer. The law of supply and demand says that as demand increases, prices go up. Demand (and the neighborhoods tax base) has increased in Lawrenceville because developers like Wylie Holdings and countless other developers have risked millions of dollars and countless hours of sweat equity to revitalize the community. Despite the opinions of a few disgruntled tenants who were selectively chosen to make a point, Id say theyve done a pretty good job. Thank them dont scold them for it! Developers only succeed when they give the market what it is asking for, and when they succeed, they make money. It is easy to complain about the big guy, but you don't hear much complaining when an individual who bought their house in 2001 for $20,000 sells it for $300,000. Should they instead sell it for $25,000 because that is more fair? If the author owned a house in the neighborhood, would this be his strategy?

27 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Ryan Edmondson on 02/16/2017 at 9:27 AM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

Wylie Holdings is the reason Lawrenceville is what it is today. These guys invested in a neighborhood that had an abundance of problems. These guys should be thanked and not slammed in your article. So they made a profit...So what? They followed their vision and it paid off. Why were you not blasting them when Butler Street was full of drugs, violence, and prostitution?

31 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Jon Nordquist on 02/16/2017 at 9:13 AM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

I challenge you Robert to back up your claim about the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation with citations. BGC and ELDI are separate organizations with completely different models and philosophies on land use and sales. As a board member for BGC I can assure you we are not by any means making hundreds of thousands of dollars on anything, let alone property sales.

4 likes, 15 dislikes
Posted by Rebekkah Ranallo on 02/16/2017 at 7:23 AM

Re: “Wylie Holdings has cashed in on Lawrenceville’s revitalization, but is it being a good neighbor?

At an apartment I rented through Wylie, there was a leak that they would cosmetically repair every few months. We knew there was mold in the ceiling, but they refused to deal with the actual problem. They even resorted to blaming our upstairs neighbors, accusing them of making a mess in their bathroom, which they speculated was causing water to leak. We were friends with those tenants and knew that this was false.

I can't say my experience was as bad as others who didn't even receive their security deposits after moving out, but they would never do proper maintenance. We were good tenants and always paid our rent on time.

Also, while I agree that it was probably risky for them to buy property in this area of town, it also took a community of people moving into the area who were starting and/or working at the restaurants, retailers, coffee shops, and other developments to make Lawrenceville what it is today. Realtors like Wylie are now pricing those people out of the community in an effort to court people with a higher income who had nothing to do with developing the community into its current state.

11 likes, 19 dislikes
Posted by magoo1984 on 02/16/2017 at 1:00 AM

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