Latest Rivertowne Brewing News
Oct 17, 2021
TribLIVE's Daily and Weekly email newsletters deliver the news you want and information you need, right to your inbox. The former Rivertowne Pub & Grille along Route 30 in North Huntingdon is either a building that is unfit for human use, with broken windows and a collapsed section of floor, or it is a structure that can be simply repaired and resurrected as a restaurant. Township commissioners recently heard opposing views of the structure — offered by property owner Prasad Margabandhu of Pittsburgh and township building inspector Joshua Andrykovitch — during a hearing in regard to a notice the municipality issued in August deeming the building unfit for occupancy and stating the unlawful structure should be either restored or razed. A vote on the condemnation notice could come as soon as the commissioners’ next meeting Wednesday. Rivertowne closed the location at 14860 Route 30 in 2018 because of the company’s bankruptcy. Now, the structure is dilapidated and lacks maintenance in addition to the site being strewn with garbage, debris, gasoline cans and junked vehicles, Andrykovitch said. It also has multiple electrical violations with bare wires on the exterior. A contractor started work on the site in February 2019 but failed to get a building permit, Andrykovitch said. He issued a stop order. When that was ignored, he issued another one. Filings from Shivs Real Estate LLC list Margabandhu as the owner. He was issued a condemnation notice Aug. 12, giving him 30 days to obtain a building permit or face condemnation proceedings, Andrykovitch said. Under questioning from Margabandhu, Andrykovitch said he had not been inside the building for two years. Margabandhu defended the lack of work on the building, blaming it on pandemic-related restrictions. “It seems like a very severe punishment,” Margabandhu said, claiming problems with the building are “cosmetic” and not structural. Margabandhu said he has a plan to pay $22,000 he owes in delinquent real estate taxes on the property. When Margabandhu gave the commissioners his address as Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon. Commissioner Virginia Stump pointed out that two of the certified letters the township sent to that address were returned by the U.S. Postal Service because the house was vacant and had no forwarding address. He denied it was vacant. Shivs Real Estate purchased a 50% ownership in the property from Rivertowne Brewing founder Christian Fyke for $7,500 in February 2019, which was about $512,000 less than Fyke and a business partner paid for the site. The restaurant equipment and liquor license had been sold in January 2019 in a bankruptcy court auction for $107,500. Rivertowne Brewing, which operated four taverns, filed for bankruptcy in May 2018. Margabandhu said he wants to open a Winghart’s restaurant at the site. In partnership with his brother, Sivram, he owned the Winghart’s Burger Beer & Whiskey Bar at Westmoreland Crossing behind the Westmoreland Mall in Hempfield. Mall owner CBL Properties evicted Winghart’s in 2019 in a dispute over $91,000 in unpaid rent. The court case went to the Pennsylvania Superior Court. When the brothers attempted to transfer a liquor license to the property in November 2019, they missed a township hearing on the request and did not reapply for the transfer. Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, email@example.com or via Twitter . Support Local Journalism and help us continue covering the stories that matter to you and your community.