Businesses Forced Out With Little Notice Due To Unsafe Buildings
WILKES-BARRE — Condemned signs are posted on several buildings on South Main Street as the city of Wilkes-Barre says it is taking immediate action to tear down these spaces.
The city ordered the two businesses here along this row, Frank Clark Jewelers and Place One At The Hollywood to leave within the next five days for safety reasons.
“The city received two independent structural engineering reports declaring that there are several dangerous and unsafe buildings at the end of the block,” said Mayor Tom Leighton. “Demolition of some structures is unavoidable.”
The city says outside engineers found at least three of six mostly vacant properties between 61 and 75 South Main Street are on the verge of collapse and condemned properties 73, 71 and 61.
67 South Main, which houses Place One, was also condemned because it shares a common wall with 71.
Owner Michaelene Coffee believes her building will be knocked down as well.
“My building is attached to the other building by 20 feet of common wall, the rest of the building all the way to the back is, there`s an 8 foot span and they want to take my entire building for 20 feet,” said Coffee.
The report shows both Place One and the jewelry store are in buildings that are in good condition and Mayor Leighton says the jewelry store is not condemned just closed until the area is made safe.
The mayor says the Place One building may have to be torn down.
‘We`re going to do what we can to safe it but again that will be up to the engineers,” said Leighton.
The mayor says the buildings` conditions took them by surprise but Coffee says she`s been complaining for years about the structures.
“A bowling ball fell off the building next door in front of a customer who came in visibly shaken,” said Coffee.
As for the future of her store that has been here on South Main for 22 years, she says,
“It`s going to put me out of business.”