August Wilson Center

This photo made with a fisheye lens on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, the August Wilson Center for African American Culture is seen from 10th Street in Pittsburgh.The center may soon be sold to pay off millions in debt, and some experts say it’s a telling reflection on the difficulties of promoting theatre and black culture in America. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

PITTSBURGH (AP) – A New York developer has emerged as the top bidder for Pittsburgh’s bankrupt August Wilson Center for African American Culture.

At a hearing Monday Judge Lawrence O’Toole temporarily postponed a request to approve the $9.5 million bid from 980 Liberty Partners LLC of Monsey. A court-appointed conservator endorsed the sale, finding that the developer’s bid could be “very attractive to the city, the county and the African-American community in Pittsburgh,” because the proposed addition of a hotel on top of the existing building could subsidize arts-related programing.

But Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald object to the bid and prefer a lower one from a coalition of local foundations.

O’Toole gave the various parties a week to file responses to the proposed sale.

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