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Former North Adams Dry Cleaning Building Demolished
Staff Reports,
05:42PM / Tuesday, November 22, 2022
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The former Sun Cleaners on River Street has been slated for demolition for some time. Several weeks ago, the parcel was cleared and the building itself came down last week.


The 1865 structure and its 1960s brick addition were demolished last Thursday. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The former Sun Cleaners finally came down last week years after the city was first approached to take over the troubled structure. 
 
The city took possession of the former dry cleaning shop in 2019 as part of a portfolio of properties transferred by the now-dissolved Housing Opportunities Inc. That process took several years because of site testing and over concerns of liabilities for cleanup. 
 
Testing found high enough levels of contamination by solvents used in dry cleaning and some petroleum. A state Brownsfield grant is being used for the demolition and remediation of the quarter-acre property. 
 
The HOI board, which was also the North Adams Housing Authority, was not clear on why the first-time homebuyer agency acquired the property back in 2008, two years after the business closed. The director and the board members had changed over since that time. 
 
Both the cleaners and the building had a long history in North Adams. The dry-cleaning business was established by John Polumbo in 1923 as Berkshire Cleaners on Center Street. A victim of urban renewal, Polumbo moved to 109 and 111 River St. in 1961. His son, David, later operated the business along with a gift and party supply store and pool supply store. David Polumbo died in 2013. 
 
Parts of the building date to 1865 when it was constructed by Jacob Coon, who operated a grocery at 109 River and had a livery in the back. The barn was taken down with the building. 
 
The structure had been a single-family house before the brick facade was added on. A sign noting it as the Jacob Coon house was attached in 2002 and the building was listed on the city's historical survey. Coon was active in local politics and was captain of the Wilson Hose Company. He died at age 81 in 1916. 
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