In 2021, Senior Managing Director Arthur Schwertz, MAI, ASA, had the privilege of providing valuation services related to two solid stone bridge piers for Estate Tax purposes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These two 45 foot tall, hundred-year-old bridge piers were originally built to support the Wabash Bridge, which carried the Wabash-Pittsburgh Terminal Railroad across the Monongahela River. The piers were left standing when the bridge was torn down in 1948.

How do you value two piles of historic rocks in a river that have no land or property attached? We resorted to one of the most important questions of the appraisal process—what is the Highest and Best Use? As the piers stood, they might not have had much financial value apart from any dollar amount one might put into the historic and civic value of the monument. But just a few yards away, hundreds of thousands of cars pass daily on one of the area’s busiest highways. If you look at the value of these piers as advertising space, enormous value is suddenly added—seemingly out of nowhere. Our expert appraisers welcome the challenge of accurately appraising unique properties such as this.

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