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Remains of hotel may come down soon

March 29, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The walls of the fire-damaged Washington House Restaurant & Bar could come tumbling down within the next few weeks, according to a borough official.

Borough Manager Eric Oyer told the council Wednesday night that the owners of the building, Tom and Charles Kalathas, had reached a "partial settlement" with their insurance company that will allow demolition of the building. He said the borough was notified Tuesday of the settlement.

Oyer said a St. Thomas, Pa., company could begin tearing down the 130-year-old landmark in about two weeks.

The upper floors of the hotel, at 204 Lincoln Way East, were heavily damaged in an Oct. 17 fire that borough and Pennsylvania State Police investigators ruled an arson. No one has been charged with setting the fire.

After the fire the top two floors were torn down to prevent debris from falling onto the sidewalks and streets. The sidewalk area is still blocked off.

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In another matter, the council approved an agreement to move a 67-kilowatt power line from the Gabler tract in the northeast quadrant of the borough.

The move will cost a maximum of $350,000 with the borough paying $90,000. Oyer said the borough's share would come from the electric capital reserve fund.

Chambersburg Hospital, which plans to build an outpatient facility on part of the property, would pay $100,000, Oyer said.

The Gabler family would pay $20,000 for engineering costs and the balance of the moving costs once the project is under way. Oyer said the line could be moved this year.

Moving the line will allow development of the tract, Oyer said.

The council also approved an ordinance for the purchase of an apartment building at 38 W. Queen St. for $99,500. Settlement with the owners, Carmyn and Sondra Barrett, is expected next month.

Councilman Thomas L. Newcomer said demolishing the building could allow widening of Black Avenue and improved access to parking behind the Capitol Theatre in the future.

Oyer said the borough has no immediate plans to demolish the building and will continue to lease apartments to the tenants until a decision is made.

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