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Cope Building project continues

| Saturday, June 16, 2012, 9:39 a.m.

Developer John Felice received approval Tuesday to tear down the former Bugzy's Bagels in Greensburg as part of a project involving the neighboring Cope Building.

The approval came in a 7-0 vote by the city's Historic and Architectural Review Board.

Felice's architect, Harold Johnston of Canzian/Johnston and Associates of New Kensington, told members that Bugzy's has been neglected over the years and restoration of the structure at 18 W. Pittsburgh St. would be difficult.

He said after the building is razed, plans are to create a parking lot that gives second-floor access to the Cope Building. A wall and trees would be added to the section of the parking lot facing Pittsburgh Street, he said.

"You've proved to us it's lost its historic nature," said board member and city planning director Barb Ciampini.

"Any remaining historic character is gone," added member Lee Calisti, who is an architect.

Development of the parking lot will next go before the city's planning commission for discussion.

Felice is seeking a grant to help fund the demolition.

He bought Bugzy's, vacant for more than five years, and the Cope Building at 22 W. Pittsburgh St. last year for $125,000. Felice said he will spend much more than that in restoration and other costs.

Johnston said plans are to restore the facade of the Cope Building. He said the brick will be chemically washed, the turret repaired and the building's awnings removed and possibly replaced. He expected work to be done on the windows.

Discussions have included putting a stair tower/elevator to the rear area of what was Bugzy's to serve the Cope Building.

Johnston said no final decisions have been made on how the upper floors of the structure will be used.

Felice said earlier this year that he planned to keep the current businesses in the building.

Approval of the Cope Building work was tabled until more detailed paperwork could be submitted.

The architecture board also:

• Approved replacement of a sign for Shopping Center TV and Appliance at 426 E. Pittsburgh St.

• Approved replacement of a sign for Westmoreland Community Action at 226 S. Maple Ave.

• Approved facade work and a $5,000 facade improvement grant for Ernie Vallozzi and Mike Stewart's JEM Associates at 132 S. Main St. The total project cost is about $14,500.

• Approved facade work and a facade improvement grant of about $2,000 for Joseph Thomas Floral at 201 S. Main St.

• Approved demolition of a garage for Dancer's Closet at 253 and 255 E. Pittsburgh St., in the former B&B Alternator, and facade changes.

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