By Mark Hiller, Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County PA Homepage (WBRE/WYOU)
WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Call it the sound of progress at the historic Market Street Square. Demolition crews are dismantling old rail cars and other parts of the complex. In recent years, the landmark site had fallen into disrepair.
“It made me very sad,” said Stacy Murray who was a cashier in the 1980s at the once popular high end bar and restaurant called “The Station” — the anchor business at Market Street Square. “The place was always crowded. The parking lot was always jammed.” Watching work underway Tuesday at what had become an eyesore some three decades later is a welcome sight. “I’m just glad that they’re doing something with it because, you know, it just needs it. It needs it,” said Ms. Murray.
The group, ‘Market Square Properties Development’, plans to renovate the historic train station building into a hub for office and retail space. Diamond City Partnership Executive Director Larry Newman said, “To see a building like that repurposed and returned to use is really a very positive sign for the community.”
The renovation project isn’t just limited to the train station. It also includes a strip mall located on the same property. The plan would renovate a retail building that houses a salon and two businesses that Jeff Thomas owns called Gold Star Wide Format and JTBillyboxes. He’s counting on a ripple effect. “We expect to be able to capitalize on the retail trade that is generated from the additional businesses.” Mr. Newman added, “Private investment and private dollars are starting to realize that downtown Wilkes-Barre is a place that they want to be investing.”
The demolition at Market Street Square is expected to take about two weeks. Renovations are expected to be completed by mid-2018.