An iconic Pittsburgh organization filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday. The Pittsburgh Athletic Association in Oakland opened its doors about 100 years ago and has been a gathering place for the business and cultural elite ever since.
“In a filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the organization listed assets and liabilities estimated between $1 million and $10 million,” an article in the Post Gazette reads.
The social club was founded in 1908 and thrived for many years, but has since sunk deep into debt amid changing lifestyles, declining membership and dwindling revenue.
“Operations at the stately Fifth Avenue building have been shut down since mid-April when the water was cut off because of $168,000 in bills owed to the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority,” the article reads. “Association President James Sheehan said Tuesday that despite the club’s mounting financial troubles, it hoped to form a plan of reorganization and reopen.
Sheehan told the media the plan now is to reach out to local and national real estate developers in hopes of coming up with proposals so the organization can remain in the building, but likely with a smaller footprint. They also hope to redevelop the building, Sheehan said.
“The association has obtained $750,000 in financing from a subsidiary of JDI Realty in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, to fund operations during the reorganization, according to the club’s bankruptcy attorney, Jordan Blask of Tucker Arensberg, Downtown,” the article reads. “He said there was no official target date for reopening, but the club hoped to be back in business ‘before year-end, if not sooner.’”
Many events that were scheduled for the next few months are in the process of being canceled, including weddings. Sheehan said they wanted to go ahead and cancel the events early enough for people to make alternate plans.
“Employees of the club who are owed back pay will be treated according to the bankruptcy code,” Blask said. “Hopefully, the [$750,000 in] funding will pay some of those claims and pay employees going forward when the PAA reopens, he said.”
The club’s debts reportedly include hundreds of thousands of dollars in overdue state and federal payroll taxes, and bills from utility companies, vendors, and contractors.