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State To Review Unused Office Space In Downtown Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Reacting to a KDKA Investigation into unused office space leased in downtown Pittsburgh by the state, a spokesman for Governor Tom Corbett calls it a "terrible deal for taxpayers."

With Auditor General Jack Wagner, KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan found some 50 conference and meeting rooms — none of which was in use — or showed signs of ever being used.

More than a half dozen were assigned to the Department of General Services.

"Oh my Lord – another Department of General Services meeting room," he added. "How many Department of General Services meetings rooms are there? We can be sure of one thing – too many."

Several state departments moved into Piatt Place after Piatt and its partners bought the old state office building for $4.6 million.

Now, the state is paying more in one year of leases than it received in that sale.

In addition to Piatt Place which it is leasing for $3.2 million a year, the state is spending another $1.2 million to lease space at 11 Stanwix Street and another $900,000 to lease part of the Chamber of Commerce building on Seventh Avenue.

The total cost of all those leases comes to $5.2 million – about $600,000 more than the state got in the sale.

Today, Kevin Harley, the governor's spokesman, called it a travesty.

"This was a terrible deal that made no economic sense for the state of Pennsylvania," he said.

Harley said the state will immediately review all the leases to try to save taxpayer money, but he said the leases are long-term and very tough to break.

"At this point we appear to be stuck with them," he said.

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