Developer plans to convert downtown Wilkes-Barre building into apartments

i Feb 12th 2020

By Denise Allabaugh, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice

WILKES-BARRE — A New Jersey developer purchased the 10-story Rosenn Jenkins & Greenwald law building and plans to convert it to apartments or condominiums and possibly commercial and office space, the realtor who closed the sale Friday confirmed.

Jeff Algatt, the senior vice president for Colliers International, said he closed on the sale of the South Franklin Street building Friday, but declined to identify the developers since they wish to remain anonymous. A deed has yet to be filed at Luzerne County Recorder of Deeds.

Algatt said the New Jersey developers have not yet decided if they are going to rent apartments or sell condos, which would be located on the top floors, with commercial and office space planned on the lower floors.

“There’s a strong demand for apartments, especially at that location,” Algatt said.

It would add to other apartments in former bank buildings in downtown Wilkes-Barre including “The Bank” at 8 W. Market St. and Riverview West in the former PNC Bank building at 11 West Market St. as well as 33 apartments on the upper floors of a former bank building at 24 W. Market St.

“I think you’ll see new development other than just this building that will begin to cater to all the people living in that nice little cluster,” Algatt said.

Larry Newman, executive director of the downtown Wilkes-Barre management organization Diamond City Partnership, said there has been an “explosion” of market rate residential units in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

More than 125 residential units are located on that corner of South Franklin and West Market streets alone and there is a waiting list for apartments, he said.

“That’s being fueled by the fact that downtown Wilkes-Barre has emerged as the region’s ‘walk to everything’ neighborhood of choice,” Newman said. “We’re seeing a continuing high demand for these units and that goes hand in hand with the growth in the number of restaurants and the growth in the start-up sectors and tech-enabled businesses that are increasingly calling downtown home.”

Rosenn Jenkins & Greenwald law firm recently announced plans to move out of its building at 15 S. Franklin St. to Cross Creek Pointe at 1065 Route 315 in Plains Twp.

Steven Roth, the law firm’s managing partner, said the move is occurring after an extensive search and the new office space will “allow us to more efficiently and effectively work together as a firm to continue to meet our client’s needs.”

Rosenn Jenkins & Greenwald expects to relocate by early fall.

The building at 15 S. Franklin St. also houses other tenants including Mark J. Sobeck Roofing Consulting. It formerly housed an M&T Bank branch that moved to Public Square.

Contact the writer:


570-821-2115, @CVAllabaugh