City intends to demolish vacant building
A Greensburg building that once was home to a tavern is cracking up these days and city officials are in no mood to wait for someone to fix it.
Greensburg has determined the vacant building at 106 S. Urania Ave. is unsafe and will have to be demolished, Les Harvey, Greensburg code enforcement officer, said Tuesday. The two-story building was inspected by an engineer and found to have structural cracks on the wall along South Urania Avenue, as well as a hole in its roof.
"It has to come down," Harvey said.
The city posted the building with a placard declaring it unsafe and last week cordoned off the sidewalk along the South Urania side of the building. Harvey said the city has received one demolition bid and he is waiting for bids from two other contractors. He hopes to have the bids by the time city council meets on April 2.
The building, which sits at the corner of South Urania Avenue and East Pittsburgh Street, is more than 50 years old, based on a review of 1940 and 1950 Greensburg city directories. It once housed a heating and air conditioning business on the first floor and a tavern on the second floor in the 1960s and early 1970s. It has been vacant for more than 25 years.
The demolition of the building has been discussed with Joseph Iezzi, the executor of an estate that owns the property, Harvey said. Iezzi could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Harvey estimated the demolition could cost between $8,000 and $15,000. If the city were to pay for the demolition, Harvey said it could place a lien against property to recoup its expense, as was done when Greensburg razed an unsafe fire-damaged building at 133 Harrison Ave. in 1998.
Harvey said the city has been trying since 1998 to have the building demolished because it is unsafe. In a Dec. 2, 1998, letter to the estate of Ivan Young, the code enforcement office stated the building had to be razed because the roof was collapsing and a portion of the second floor collapsed. The city wanted the owner to hire a demolition contractor within 30 days.
Although the city had several hearings with the property owner before District Justice James Albert of Greensburg, Harvey said no action was taken and the building continued to deteriorate.
"We can't keep letting this go on. One of us (city or property owner) is going to tear it down," Harvey said.