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Donora businessman finds ideal tenant for former bank building

Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
Albert Hanna is seen behind the counter of Hanna's Plumbing and Electric in Donora. After 54 years at its current location, the family business will be moving to larger quarters in the former Citizens Bank building on McKean Avenue at Fifth Street.

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Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

When Citizens Bank announced it was closing its Donora branch in early 2013, the building owner Albert Hanna began an exhaustive search for the perfect tenant for the spacious downtown building.

Hanna's search uncovered a tenant well suited for the building – a business with more than five decades of business in Donora – Hanna's Wholesale.

Hanna is moving his business, currently located at 833 McKean Ave. in Donora, to the former Citizens and Mellon banks building at 501 McKean Ave.

The owner of Hanna's Wholesale has owned the bank building for nearly eight years.

In late January 2013, Citizens customers received a letter from bank management informing them that the Donora location would close by April 26, 2013.

The announcement came just a week after PNC Bank announced it would close its Donora branch, just a block away at 601 McKean Ave., on April 19, 2013.

In October 2012, First Federal Savings Bank closed its Donora branch.

Hanna said he hopes to make the move by April.

The bank building is close to 4,000-square feet, about 1,500 square feet larger than the current Hanna's site.

“It will provide more visibility – customers will be able to see what we have to offer,” Hanna said. “We have things upstairs, downstairs, around corners.

“With the new location, we will be able to buy larger, buy and sell in more varieties and pass that savings on to the customers.”

The bank building is three stories plus a full basement for storage. Moving to the bank building will also provide more visibility for the store and provide Donora with a high-profile business on a high-profile corner of the downtown business community.

“It's a corner of the town that needs something,” Hanna said.

There are also two floors of large apartments in the building. Hanna has spent several years renovating the apartments, including installing an elevator.

The store will utilize the first floor of the building with the basement used for storage.

Hanna is currently completing renovations to the bank building.

Hanna said the larger building will give his business more room to expand its plumbing, faucets, bathtubs and showers. Hanna's Wholesale also specializes in electrical supplies and Benjamin Moore paints.

Albert Hanna, father of the current business owner, opened Hanna Plumbing and Electric at its current site in 1960.

The elder Albert Hanna was a steelworker for U.S. Steel when he lost his job after the zinc works closed.

Donora Councilman Jim Coulter said the borough is working to assist Hanna's with parking, an issue he also deals with at his current location.

“We want to assist him in any way because Albert put so much into that building,” Coulter said.

Coulter said the borough is trying to create a loading area on the side and provide parking on the side and front of the building.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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