Former Pittsburgh Steelers Player’s Ligonier Township Estate Sold as Personal Home, Dashing Hopes for Clergy Retreat Center

Ligonier Township, located in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, saw the sale of a 133-acre estate previously owned by a former Pittsburgh Steelers player. The property, which was intended to be a retreat center for clergy and pastors, was purchased by a former Pittsburgh attorney who plans to use it as his personal home. The estate was sold for $3.76 million to Antonio “Tony” and Amy Dias of Miami in November.

Tony Dias, a Wilkinsburg native who now practices law in Miami, expressed his fondness for the town of Ligonier and the property itself. According to Dias, he discovered the estate was for sale through an online advertisement while traveling to Pittsburgh for a golf tournament with his youngest son. After visiting the property, Dias described it as “a beautiful piece of property.”

The estate was previously owned by Vance McDonald, a former tight end for the Pittsburgh Steelers. McDonald had purchased the property in 2019 for $2.32 million through his management company, VanKen Management LLC. The mansion on the estate spans three levels, encompassing 17,000-square-feet with five bedrooms, multiple living and dining spaces, a library, theater, and gymnasium.

McDonald had originally intended to establish a retreat center for clergy and pastors through his Vance McDonald Foundation. However, these plans did not come to fruition, and the property was listed on the market in February 2023 for $5.5 million. Reports indicate that McDonald and his family returned to Oklahoma, his wife’s home state.

One potential buyer for the property was the Pittsburgh Retreat, an organization focused on addiction recovery. However, their plan was contingent on obtaining a zoning change that would allow for the operation of a retreat center. Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Retreat’s sales agreement expired as the zoning ordinance in Ligonier Township was being revised and did not yet include a clear definition and regulations for retreat centers.

The issue of traffic increase and potential impact on the water supply in the area prompted objections from several residents in that section of Ligonier Township. Currently, the township is in the process of finalizing the new zoning ordinance, which proposes that retreat centers be permitted on land zoned for highway commercial use or rural residential. However, the former McDonald property is currently zoned for agricultural use, requiring a variance or zoning change for any operation on the estate.

In conclusion, a former Pittsburgh Steelers player’s estate in Ligonier Township, Pennsylvania, has been sold to a Miami-based attorney who intends to use it as a personal residence. The property, initially intended to be a retreat center for clergy and pastors, was purchased for $3.76 million. Plans for a retreat center did not materialize, and the property was listed for sale. The Pittsburgh Retreat, an addiction recovery organization, was among the interested buyers but faced zoning hurdles. Ligonier Township is working on finalizing a new zoning ordinance that would permit retreat centers on specific types of land. However, the former McDonald property is currently zoned for agriculture, necessitating a variance or zoning change for any future developments.