New Life Possible for Old Silk Mill
WILKES-BARRE — A developer in Wilkes-Barre plans on bringing new life to the city’s last remaining silk mill.
The more than century old building could soon be the site of a new restaurant, art gallery, and dozens of luxury apartments.
Developer George Tassone showed our cameras around the old silk mill on South Empire Street in Wilkes-Barre. He’s owned the building for several years, and runs his pool construction business out of it. But he says now it’s time for a change. He plans on turning the upper floors into 30 luxury apartments.
“It`s unique, it has a lot of character. Can`t be duplicated. They do these mill conversions all over the world and its nothing new. Just gotta get it done. It`s the plan,” said Tassone.
On the first floor, the early stages of an art gallery line the long walls, and next to the art work, what will soon be a restaurant called Brick and Mortar’s.
“Basically went with the theme of the old factory the silk mill and came up with that name Brick and Mortar’s,” added Tassone.
A lot of the parts of the restaurant are relics left over from the old silk mill including a table which is part of a trolley car and a chandelier converted from an old steam heater.
“It`s got a lot of history. It’s the last silk mill standing in Wilkes-Barre. There used to be a lot of them so we are proud of it and we`re confident that we`ll get it done,” said Tassone.
Neighbors who live across the street say they’re happy to see the new life in the old mill.
“I`ll agree with that. Bringing new life to something that`s like a dump,” said Joe Grigas.
“Bring more people to the community. It helps the community out. It`s better than having an abandoned building that people set on fire all the time so it helps the community out a lot,” said Rudy Navarro.
Tassone says he’s still looking for an investor to finance the three million dollars he estimates it will cost to complete all the phases of his project. He says he hopes to have the restaurant open in time for the holidays.