City says condemned store will be spared demolition

Jerry Lynott jlynott@timesleader.com

November 7, 2013

WILKES-BARRE — The city plans to save the Place One at the Hollywood dress shop it condemned last week and demolish an adjacent building and others in danger of collapse on South Main Street.

Assistant City Attorney Bill Vinsko said at tonight’s council meeting that the demolition project does not have to be advertised due to the emergency declaration issued Oct. 31 by Mayor Tom Leighton. Council extended the declaration to Dec. 6 to allow for the work to be done.

Bids are to be opened at 2 p.m. Friday in city hall and work could begin on Monday at the latest.

Michaelene Coffee, the owner of Place One, said the news was a pleasant surprise.

She feared the condemnation spelled the end for her business that she’s operated for 22 years in the downtown. She said her attorney addressed her desire to stay and other concerns to city officials.

“I’m in the process of preparing my stock,” Coffee said. The inventory will be moved to the property she has in Scranton at 117 Wyoming Ave. She closed her Scranton store with the intention of expanding her Wilkes-Barre business.

Vinsko also said the Frank Clark Jeweler store next to Coffee’s would not be demolished. Ilona Bruns, owner of the jewelry store, temporarily relocated her merchandise to her other store in Nanticoke.