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Former Napoli building to be torn down

  • Jeff Bonacci, representing Day Job Property Management Corporation, tells Tamaqua's Historic Architectural Review Commission members Monday that the former Napoli building could be torn down by Christmas.
    Jeff Bonacci, representing Day Job Property Management Corporation, tells Tamaqua's Historic Architectural Review Commission members Monday that the former Napoli building could be torn down by Christmas.
Published October 03. 2012 05:02PM

A downtown building that once housed one of Tamaqua's most popular restaurants will be torn down by Christmas.

The lot created by the demolition of the Napoli Luncheonette building will create opportunities for the adjacent structures.

That's what Jeff Bonacci told members of Tamaqua's Historic Architectural Review Commission (HARC) at Monday's regular meeting.

The large, three-story property at 54 Mauch Chunk St. will be demolished and the lot made level for potential future expansion of the neighboring Hess Window complex. Hess Window occupies the former site of Kennedy Pharmacy.

Bonacci represents Day Job Property Management of Tilghman Street, Allentown, owner of the adjacent Hess Window building and Tamaqua Tobacco Outlet parcel and storefront.

The former Napoli building was sold to Day Job Property Management on June 20, 2012, for $25,000 from previous owner Tamaqua Real Estate #3 Corporation.

Bonacci said the Napoli building "will be deconstructed rather than demolished with the first and second floors done by hand. Any artifacts discovered during the razing process will be turned over to the Tamaqua Historical Society Museum," said Bonacci.

The building's foundation will be used as material to help fill the basement level. Soil will be compacted and the parcel finished with crushed stone. Finally, shrubs will be planted at the location, said Bonacci.

A fence may also be erected to prevent cars from using the parcel as a shortcut between Mauch Chunk Street and the Genetti Shopping Plaza lot.

In addition, Bonacci said siding and insulation will be installed along any exposed portions of the wall of the adjoining property, a building housing Schick's Cafe Calcutta.

Bonacci said he has hopes of perhaps using the new lot to add a wing to the adjacent Hess Window property, creating a U-shaped complex.

The Napoli building is situated at the north perimeter of the 55-block Tamaqua National Historic District.

While included in the district, the structure had been substantially modified and no longer is considered a strong contributing resource.

"It was heavily altered. It wasn't keeping with the character or integrity of the block," said Dale Freudenberger, HARC chairman. For that reason, the loss of the building is seen as a boost to the district's historical integrity.

The Second Empire Victorian building was constructed around 1900, according to the district's inventory of resources.

Locals may recall the Napoli Luncheonette operated by the Tom Coggiano family.

The business was a popular eatery with clientele of all ages and a top destination for teens in the 1960s to 1980s.

According to court records, the Napoli building was sold in October, 1989, to Manny and Ethel Filloy, who continued a food business at the location.

In December, 1991, the building was purchased by R.R. and D. L Heilman, starting a pattern of ownership changes. Since then, the place has changed hands seven times over the past 20 years.

The HARC board recommended that a certificate of appropriateness be issued by Tamaqua borough council.

Other HARC approvals included:

• Maria Hernandez's request to change the faceplate of a current non-illuminated sign at 14 West Broad St.

• Paula Piccin to remove a rear porch and replace it with a deck a bit larger than the original porch at 345 Hazle St.

• Dennis Serfass to construct a two-car garage to the rear of 248 W. Broad St., facing on West Cottage Avenue.

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