Iron Building sale

Rick Shrum/Observer-Reporter

Felix Magnotta, left, and his wife, Maria, have sold the Iron Building to Washington entrepreneur Mark Kennison.

Mark Kennison already owned one building that stood next to the one that collapsed on North Main Street in Washington two years ago. Now he owns the other.

Kennison, Republican candidate for Washington mayor, has purchased the Iron Building at 3 N. Main St. It is the unoccupied city structure through which rescue workers bored three holes to reach Megan Angelone, a resident trapped in the Montgomery Building next door, at 15 N. Main, which caved in July 12, 2017.

He said Monday that all repairs have been made to the three-story Iron Building, which, he added, sustained no foundation or structural damage from the collapse. Kennison said he bought it a month ago from Felix and Maria Magnotta, Canton Township spouses who confirmed the transaction.

The Magnottas had owned that rectangular structure – former home of now-closed Brothers Pizza – since 1987. All three declined to reveal the sales price.

Kennison is bullish on the Iron Building, which is at the center of the business district and a 90-second walk from the Washington County Courthouse. The Magnottas are enamored of it, as well.

“It’s a great building,” Felix said during a quick tour of the 14,000-square-foot structure.

“It’s a pretty special building for the town,” Kennison said. “We’re looking to have great tenants on all three floors.”

He may be on the verge of securing one for the ground floor. Kennison said he is “finalizing details” with Eric and Casey Clark, spouses and owners of Perked Up Café in Charleroi and Belle Vernon, who plan to open a breakfast/lunch location – name to be determined. A late summer opening is projected.

Kennison now possesses the two structures that bookend the collapsed Montgomery Building. He had previously invested in the former VIP nightclub at 19 N. Main, which is being converted into a entertainment/catering venue that he also plans to launch in the late summer.

North Main has been a domain of his in recent years. Kennison also owns Presidents Pub, which he opened in 2015. He previously launched Upper Crust, a restaurant on South Main that has since closed.

The Iron Building was built in 1862, the only iron-clad structure in the city, with decorative iron facing that covers all three stories. It has been designated a historic landmark, and the Magnottas have purchased a plaque from the Washington County History and Landmarks Foundation denoting that.

The plaque has yet to be displayed. Kennison pledges to do so.

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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