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  #1001  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2007, 12:32 AM
Snakeyes Snakeyes is offline
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I read on another forum about the environmental study for the train being announced in mid jan, dont ask me what that means, but it sounds like good news..


Doherty says the 500 block of Lackawanna and Connel Buliding for 2007 are priorities. What business can we get to move into the Southern Union building???!
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  #1002  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2007, 11:08 AM
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rents

Quote:
Originally Posted by donybrx View Post
^^^ Ay prospect that a more favorable rent in Scranton city (as opposed to more expensive bedroom areas) would offset the city tax burden?
I'm finding that prices are about the same unless one wants to live in a bad, cheaper part of Scranton. But the deciding factor for me in choosing my apartment, which is in Scranton, is its location. I can walk to my office at Mercy Hospital, to shops downtown, Nay Aug Park, and explore the university's campus. Plus, it's an older classy building, built in 1929, with some great architectural features. There's a photo here http://www.managemententerprises.com/clay.htmlthat doesn't do it justice. Actually there are two L-shaped buildings set on a circular driveway.

Last edited by bucks native; Jan 4, 2007 at 11:14 AM. Reason: image missing
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  #1003  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2007, 11:11 AM
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Hotel Jermyn

What's up with the old Hotel Jermyn?

I hope it's not torn down like the Casey was.

The Southern Union Bldg. is a KOZ zone, yes? Shouldn't take long to fill. Probably law firms.

Last edited by bucks native; Jan 4, 2007 at 11:18 AM. Reason: addition
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  #1004  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2007, 1:31 AM
donybrx donybrx is offline
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^^Thanks, BucksNa looks like a beautiful building and a great choice for you! Best of luck...

I was trying to imagine the rent for this place were it in NYC......
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  #1005  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2007, 6:51 PM
Snakeyes Snakeyes is offline
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wow someone moving into Scranton rather than moving out...KUDOS
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  #1006  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2007, 6:53 PM
Snakeyes Snakeyes is offline
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re: TRAIN SERVICE

Hi All:

We are pleased to pass on the public meeting schedule for information on the Environmental Assessment report.

Each meeting location will be open from 3:00 to 8:00 PM and formal presentations will be made at 4:00 and 7:00 PM. At other than the formal presentation times there will be representatives of NJT available to discuss the details of the project along with a stenographer to record comments that will be fed back to the project people. The meeting dates and locations are as follows:


Jan 17th Hilton Scranton Hotel 100 Adams Ave Scranton, PA

Jan 23rd Perona Farms 350 Andover-Sparta Rd Andover, NJ

Jan 25th Quality Inn (formerly 1220 W. Main St Stroudsburg, PA
Clarion Hotel)

Jan 29th Blairstown Municipal 106 Rt 94 Blairstown, NJ
Complex

Comment cards will be available for people to express their sentiments about the project or a street or email address for more detailed comments. It is imperative that all attendees at least fill out these cards to express their positive support of the project. Unfortunately, the vocal minority will be out in force and attempt to skew the perception of the public support for the project.

Later this Sunday, January 7, more information will be available on the Penn Jersey Rail Coalition Web site "lackawannacutoff.org". Unfortunately, our web master will be out of town until then.

We need to impress the project people with the simple fact that it will not only be working commuters that will utilize this passenger service. May people will be interested in traveling to the Pocono's for recreational purposes, including many school children that can take a well supervised trip to Steamtown for their Class Trip at the end of the school year. It can also be an educational experience on the benefits of public transportation.
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  #1007  
Old Posted Jan 5, 2007, 9:16 PM
donybrx donybrx is offline
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^^^Thanks Snakeyes.......good info; hopefully this will be going somewhere in terms of getting the rails up & running.......

Thanks for including the info for the 'lackawanna cutoff' website...that'll help keep us up to date, I guess......
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  #1008  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2007, 2:49 PM
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Rails to Scranton: So far, So Bad. Ugh.

Costs way up/ potential way down. But, never say never!


01/07/2007
Rail study raises costs
BY BORYS KRAWCZENIUK
STAFF WRITER


The cost of the proposed passenger rail service between Scranton and Hoboken, N.J., has ballooned to an estimated $551 million, more than three times an early estimate and far more than the most recent estimate, according to a new study.

The other bad news in the study is a daily ridership estimate from the Scranton station by 2030 that’s only 40 passengers on a weekday, just 1.1 percent ?of the 133-mile trip’s estimated 3,530 daily riders. That could hurt Scranton’s chances for being a stop on the line.

The long-awaited New Jersey Transit study, an assessment of the project’s potential effects on the environment, will be the subject of four upcoming public hearings.

The first will be on Jan. 17 from 4 to 8 p.m at the Hilton Scranton and Conference Center. Others will take place in Stroudsburg, Blairstown, N.J., and Andover, N.J.

“If people have questions, that’s where to ask them,” said Larry Malski, chief operating officer of the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority, which is sponsoring the Pennsylvania end of the project.

The project costs are expected to be borne by a yet-to-be-determined split involving the federal government and the two states. In recent years, the federal government has typically contributed no more than 50 percent of the start-up costs of new rail projects.

An earlier study pegged the cost at about $200 million, but a later one set it several years ago at $350 million. Mr. Malski said the latest study includes $170 million in contingencies and soft costs, which may vary widely.

The costs could come down as they are refined during preliminary engineering, if the Federal Transit Administration allows the project to move into that phase, Mr. Malski said.

Officials, he said, are hoping for a decision by FTA on the environmental impact by the end of March, but the project has blown past every timetable set before.

Ridership from each station along a proposed new rail line is crucial because FTA has lopped off stops that didn’t have enough passengers in at least one other project, in Minnesota.

Mr. Malski remains optimistic. A Scranton stop is necessary because the city is the best place for a rail yard where cars and engines could be stored and maintained, he said.

The project will have a variety of environmental effects from simple noise to disturbance of endangered species, according to the study, which comes to no conclusions about whether they may be overcome. The best estimate of a start to construction is no earlier than 2010.

Contact the writer: bkrawczeniuk@timesshamrock.com
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  #1009  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2007, 3:05 PM
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Besides the cost, the ridership numbers are a kick in the crotch. Doesn't look good, at least based on this info.
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  #1010  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2007, 7:19 PM
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Nope, it doesn't EX. I think that freight rail will be successful and returning much sooner than passenger service.....I keep wondering if the answer might not be light rail system...trolley type between Wilkes-Barre-Scranton & environs and then down into the Pocono stops pf the proposed NYC run....but...
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  #1011  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2007, 7:34 PM
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It always comes down to funding. Think any of the governments (municipal, state, fed) have any bucks for a project like that? Sadly, probably not.
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  #1012  
Old Posted Jan 7, 2007, 10:00 PM
donybrx donybrx is offline
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Money money money.......oyez......^^^^

Better news back in Wilkes-Barre:

Another apartment building rescue in the Wilkes U.-South Main-Murray complex district.....
-----------------------------

Posted on Fri, Jan. 05, 2007

Developer finds keeper in W-B
Businessman has some long-term plans for troubled building at corner of South Main and Ross.
By RON BARTIZEK
rbartizek@timesleader.com

WILKES-BARRE – Sam Johnson first viewed the building at the corner of South Main and Ross streets strictly as a short-term project, like others he has renovated and then sold in Jim Thorpe. But two years after paying $185,000 to buy the four-story structure, he’s poised to make a bigger commitment.

“I have a gut feeling it’s going to be a good investment,” he said Thursday by telephone.

Johnson,38, still plans to rehabilitate the building that includes 16 apartments on the upper floors. But those will have to wait until he and a partner turn most of the first floor into the Wilkes Bar & Grill.

“It is going to happen in ’07,” probably by September, Johnson said. He’s only waiting for some permits and liquor license approval before starting to convert the former bank office into a casual dining spot that will include a dance floor and video bar.

That will be a dramatic transformation for the building that was closed in July 2003 by city officials who declared it unsafe. The apartments had been the scene of several criminal incidents, including a murder earlier that year.

Johnson originally planned to work on the apartments first, then tackle the first-floor spaces that would be rented out to businesses. But as he’s watched the city’s recent progress, with the downtown theater, Bart & Urby’s bar and other new ventures taking off, he’s decided running a business here would make long-term sense.

Johnson praised Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton’s plan to install streetlights down to and around the corner. “The city’s working with us really nicely,” he said. “They want something to happen there, too.”

The project will take place in two phases, Johnson said. First, a structure on the north side of the main building will be taken down to make room for parking and the restaurant will be fitted out. That work will require extensive renovations, including new windows throughout and a general cleanup of the exterior.

Making the apartments livable will come next.

Larry Newman, vice president of economic and community development at the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber, said Johnson’s project adds to the credibility of the downtown revival. “Just as we had hoped, the private investment is starting to occur,” he said. “For many people that is the real test.”

Combined with plans for the Cumberland Building a block away on Ross Street and for the former Murray Complex in the other direction, “Those are three substantial, separate private investments in downtown,” Newman said. “We couldn’t be more pleased.”

“I’m an investor, with multiple properties in Carbon County that we’ve rehabbed,” Johnson said. “We pretty much just rehab and sell.

“But I’ll keep this one.”


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ron Bartizek, Times Leader business editor, may be reached at 970-7157.

Last edited by donybrx; Jan 7, 2007 at 10:02 PM. Reason: correction
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  #1013  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2007, 11:35 AM
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Well well, well, so we can have a forum meet at the Wilkes bar & Grill, eh? Sounds good to me.
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  #1014  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2007, 8:12 PM
donybrx donybrx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Ithacan View Post
Well well, well, so we can have a forum meet at the Wilkes bar & Grill, eh? Sounds good to me.
Amen! ......and invite this guy..a man who is taking up the charge to help return South Wilkes-Barre to the decent, thriving, safe section that it's always been....this kind of participation is what the doctor ordered to bring the city whole again now that Central City is up and running....or beginning to.....another cog in the wheel....
---------------------
Posted on Thu, Jan. 04, 2007

Carey Avenue businessman seeks to form business alliance for his end of the city AREA COMMERCE Carey Avenue businessman seeks to form business alliance for his end of the city
Shifting the focus to South W-B


By JERRY LYNOTT jlynott@timesleader.com

WILKES-BARRE – Rick Gazenski would like to see his end of the city get a little more attention. And he’s inviting fellow business owners to join him in the attempt.

He wants to hear from them, all 200 plus if possible.

Gazenski, vice president of J.W. Hoban & Associates Inc. on Carey Avenue, is getting out the word of a Jan. 11 meeting at his office for a new group.

He’s leaning toward naming the group the South Wilkes-Barre Business Alliance. That’s a detail to be worked out later. The immediate focus is on the formation.

“I think it’s about time that we started to do this,” Gazenski said.

Much of the attention in the city has been on the theater project, rightfully so. “I’m as happy as can be downtown is coming along,” he said.

But within other neighborhoods and sections of the city are thriving businesses big and small, many of them family owned and around for years.

“There are over 200 businesses in South Wilkes-Barre,” Gazenski said. He listed the boundaries as Academy Street to the north, Pennsylvania Boulevard to the east, Division Street to the south and the Susquehanna River to the west.

Gazenski said he and Dr. Brian O’Donnell have talked about forming a group for years. They’ve secured a promise from Donna Kowalczyk to serve as president. She has the Salon at 419 S. River St.

As a group, the businesses could benefit from co-op advertising.

The group possibly could push for some tax forgiveness benefits from the city.

“We want to make our presence known” within the city and beyond, Gazenski said.

So far the reception from businesses in the neighborhood has been positive, leading Gazenski to believe there will be strength in numbers.

“If we have a strong enough organization, we can go to city hall, we can go to city council, we can go to the mayor and if we have an issue, we might be able to get it resolved quickly,” he said.

Give him a call
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  #1015  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2007, 1:02 AM
donybrx donybrx is offline
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Old news updated:
..............................
01/06/2007
Hotel Sterling’s tower almost down
BY DENISE ALLABAUGH
STAFF WRITER


WILKES-BARRE — Most of the historic Hotel Sterling tower has been torn down, and work has begun to demolish the adjoining four-story building.
The tower is down from 14 stories to five. West Market Street from South Franklin to River streets has been closed at night to allow Brandenburg International to complete the demolition. The four-story building is being separated from the adjoining seven-story building, which is being preserved.

Alex Rogers, executive director of CityVest, the non-profit group restoring the hotel, expects the demolition will be complete next month. Marketing will then begin so the site can be used for retail and residential developments, he said.

Rogers was the guest speaker Friday at the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association’s meeting at the Henry Student Center at Wilkes University.

He highlighted the major economic developments completed and under way in the downtown.

“A few years ago, we had very interesting ideas. They were just ideas. Today, we’re seeing flowers blossom throughout the downtown in the form of substantial economic development projects,” Rogers said. “It’s a very exciting place to be and a different city than it was a few years ago.”

Years ago, Rogers said many believed that the Hotel Sterling renovation was an unrealistic project since there was $2 million in back taxes and penalties owed on the property and significant environmental issues. The roof had caved in and it was vacant for years, he recalled.

Thanks to partnerships with the federal, state, county and local government officials, CityVest and Brandenburg International are now “well into the demolition phase,” Rogers said.

Rogers said it has been a challenge for Brandenburg International to try to preserve the seven-story Hotel Sterling while demolishing the adjoining four-story building.

“If you were just to demolish everything, it’s a very straight-forward process,” Rogers said. “We actually have three structures attached so we have to make sure the two are demolished without damaging the corner building we’re saving. It literally requires hand work to create an air space separation from the two buildings. You are now able to see the beginning of the gap.”

In addition to the Hotel Sterling project, Rogers also highlighted CityVest’s success in renovating four single-family homes at South Franklin and Ross streets and plans to create retail developments and loft apartments at two blighted buildings on North Main Street.

CityVest purchased the former Corcoran Printing at 177 N. Main St., the former Mary MacIntosh Laundry building at 165 N. Main St. and two parking lots behind the buildings for $275,000.

The new urban renewal site will be called “The Lofts at North Main Street.” A core mission of CityVest is to encourage more housing developments downtown, Rogers said.

“We’re seeing increasing numbers of people interested in living there and we are seeing multiple housing development projects at various stages of development, which I think will give greater encouragement to retail development,” Rogers said.

dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com
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  #1016  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2007, 12:38 PM
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I definately have to get back to W-B for a visit. Haven't toured downtown in about 3 years. I'm looking forward to seeing all the changes.
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  #1017  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2007, 2:30 PM
donybrx donybrx is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Ithacan View Post
I definately have to get back to W-B for a visit. Haven't toured downtown in about 3 years. I'm looking forward to seeing all the changes.

Yes, you should! shame on you.....heh.....

I think going to WB now would be fun for you and then again in 2-3 years after the current 'doings' prove to be boon ...or bust...for the joint.......

I read that the new cinemas are on course to draw 500,000 attendees for the first year of operation. For Wilkes'burg' that's really significant; it represents a sudden stream of half million people downtown who otherwsie would not have been there.......
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  #1018  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2007, 2:51 PM
donybrx donybrx is offline
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Regarding ^^^^^^ here's the written word:


01/08/2007
Attendance remains steady at Movies 14
BY DENISE ALLABAUGH
STAFF WRITER


WILKES-BARRE — The new Wilkes-Barre Movies 14 is on track to exceed a half million guests during its first year of operation in the downtown, said David Phillips, chief financial officer for R/C Theatres.

Since its opening in center city in late June last year, attendance figures at the new Wilkes-Barre Movies 14 have been excellent, Phillips said.

With the average movie price at $6.30 and the average cost at the snack bar at $2.60 per person, he predicts the new cinema will bring in about $4.4 million by the end of its first year.

“We are very happy with the attendance,” Phillips said. “We will always take more, but the theater is performing quite well, especially under the circumstances of it being downtown, which still has obstacles to overcome.”

The theaters opened during a heavy rainstorm in late June. Lightning struck an air-conditioning unit on the roof and power went out on the first night of public showings, sending guests home early.

After a rocky start for the theater complex, many positive developments followed. The Barnes & Noble joint college bookstore opened in the Innovation Center. Club Mardi Gras opened across the street on South Main Street. Campus Square Billiards opened on Public Square.

Bart & Urby’s Downtown Bar and Bistro opened on the second block of South Main Street. New club Fuse opened in Midtown Village. Wilkes-Barre businessman Jim Casey spent $500,000 renovating a burned out shell at 92 S. Main St., creating a used book store on the first floor and upscale loft apartments on the upper floors.

Januzzi’s Pizza will be the first retail tenant in the Northampton and Main project. Loft apartments and more retailers are expected to fill the rest of the complex. Phillips is looking forward to the developments.

Moviegoers typically park in a lot across the street or in Park N Lock Central, Phillips said. Anyone who visits the movie theaters can park for free in three downtown garages for up to three hours. Phillips said he has heard no complaints about parking.

R/C Theatres, based in Maryland, operates 14 cinemas in Pennsylvania, Maryland Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. Seven locations were sold, Phillips said. The movie theater industry in general is beginning to improve, he said.

“In 2006, we ended up with a 4 percent increase in box office revenue over 2005,” Phillips said. “Attendance, for the most part, has been pretty steady. That mimics national trends.”

Since Wilkes-Barre Movies 14 opened, the Gateway Cinema in Edwardsville and The Great Escape Theaters at the Wyoming Valley Mall have closed.

dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com
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  #1019  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2007, 3:06 PM
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Seems the trend toward downtown becoming an entertainment center has taken root in Wilkes-Barre with a resounding success (at least so far). I hope the trend continues. With the other projects (housing and such) the downtown should stay as lively as now and only improve. Good stuff dony, thanks.
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  #1020  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2007, 6:56 PM
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^^^ you are a wise man, EX...and not just a wise guy....heh.

The trick for WB and cities in similar circumstances is to keep building on what works and build momentum. The cinemas will work for just so long....ats some point someone will will build a new cineplex in Kingston or up at Wyoming Valley Mall. Wilkes-Barre will need in the meantime to evolve durable attractions and to build up it's downtown population and office infrastructure....
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