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Plan to buy Penn Theater, other properties for housing is withdrawn

June 16, 2017 News Extra

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The Penn Theater on Main in Butler and an adjoining property are no longer being targeted by an Ohio real estate developer.

The Woda Group is no longer interested in buying certain properties along Main Street in Butler, including the Penn Theater.

The Woda Group, an Ohio-based development company which specializes in affordable living for seniors, pulled out of a potential deal for financial reasons.

The group wanted to buy the properties on the east side of Main Street between New Castle and North streets for a 40- to 50-unit building.

“I spoke with everybody in that block and when we got the final numbers for which everybody was willing to sell, the total number was too high for the project to be economically feasible,” said Andy Cohen, senior vice president of the Woda Group.

That the Woda Group is no longer interested in purchasing the properties means the Penn Theater Performance Company is the sole organization interested in buying the Penn Theater from the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Butler.

“It's nice to know that we're not in a race against an out-of-town company that has a lot more money than us,” said Dane Winkler, founder of the Penn Theater Performance Company.

The redevelopment authority is $290,000 in debt to Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, which fronted the authority the money in 2009 to buy the theater. The authority wants to sell the theater to help absolve that debt.

A full report will appear in Sunday's Butler Eagle.

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