2017-12-02 / Front Page

Bruzzi’s bites the dust


For decades, Frank Bruzzi and, later, his son Jim owned and operated the Bruzzi Cleaners building on Coudersport’s South Main Street. The property had fallen into a state of disrepair and was purchased by the Potter County Redevelopment Authority. A demolition crew from Earthmovers Unlimited of Kylertown made short work of it on Tuesday. 
Bill Pekarski photo For decades, Frank Bruzzi and, later, his son Jim owned and operated the Bruzzi Cleaners building on Coudersport’s South Main Street. The property had fallen into a state of disrepair and was purchased by the Potter County Redevelopment Authority. A demolition crew from Earthmovers Unlimited of Kylertown made short work of it on Tuesday. Bill Pekarski photo Wreckers made quick work of the former Bruzzi Cleaners building in downtown Coudersport Tuesday. It’s the fourth – and most visible – structure recently purchased and demolished by the Potter County Redevelopment Authority (PCRA) in that section of town.

To the five-member authority, it’s all about removing blight and making properties available for private development. Authority members are chairman David Buckler, Shawn Wolfinger, Phil Vaughn, Jeff Wilcox and Terry Goodenough.

However, the agency has come under fire for continuing to gut the real estate tax base for the Coudersport Area School District, Coudersport Borough and Potter County. PCRA, which is tax-exempt, also owns the massive Zito Technology Center in the same area.

In addition, the agency has purchased and demolished three homes in the same area. Most recent to go was the former Phillips home on Eulalia Street.

PCRA executive director John Wright said the Bruzzi Cleaners demolition was delayed by an environmental assessment for asbestos. The building was anchored to the former Zito Media customer service center with a narrow four-inch corridor.

“The demolition was a bit tricky, but the contractor did a great job and there were no real issues,” Wright said.

He added that PCRA has no immediate plans for the property.

“We hope to create an opportunity for development of the buildings we purchase, but we’re flexible,” he explained. “When the cost of renovation far exceeds the cost of a demolition, we have to eliminate the building . . . We’ve done well so far with the buildings we’ve acquired and resold. We look for the worst properties in the best locations in every community in Potter County. Our priority is to liquidate them and turn them into affordable housing, but we also have to consider alternative uses.”

PCRA has also expressed interest in buying the Greeley Auto Parts property, adjacent to the former Bruzzi building. According to Wright, no formal offer has been made and discussions have been at a standstill for over a year.

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