CARBONDALE — Guests will be spending the night at a hotel in Lackawanna County that’s been almost a decade in the making.
The newly constructed hotel along Main Street in Carbondale got the OK to open late Wednesday afternoon.
The hotel is the first in Carbondale for as long as most can remember. It’s part of the new Pioneer Plaza that Newswatch 16 has been following since city officials cut the ribbon on it about seven years ago.
A team of mostly local employees has been at the ready for a few weeks. They had to wait until corporate officials came through and approved the hotel. Now the tarp can be taken off the Best Western sign and Pioneer Plaza is open for business.
Many rooms are already booked for Memorial Day weekend, and about a dozen people are staying there on the hotel’s first night.
Director of sales Lisa Criscera showed us around the brand new hotel that she said seemed like a pipe dream when it was proposed almost a decade ago.
“I can honestly say I never thought we’d have a hotel in Carbondale, but I think with the growth that’s happened in Wilkes-Barre and Dickson City and Scranton, it’s just kind of made it’s way up the valley and this is a good start,” said Criscera.
The plaza now fills what had been a vacant lot since the early 2000′s. Before that it was the famous Irving Theatre.
Donna Zaremba has a nice view of it out of her shop’s front window and earlier this week knew the waiting game was finally over.
“I love it, I love seeing it, I love seeing it with the lights on. I was driving by last night and they had the lights on so we thought it would be opening very soon, we’re excited,” said Zaremba.
The Best Western Hotel at Pioneer Plaza has 61 rooms, including some suites. It employs more than 100 people mostly from the up-valley. Many of them lost jobs last year when Marian Community Hospital closed. The building is a new beginning for them, and they hope for their city too.
“Everyone’s been talking about the hotel since that sign went on the fence, and we were like ‘when is it going to come up?’ So, it’s pretty awesome to know it’s finally happening,” said employee Kira Masker.
Officials with Pioneer Plaza said they’ll have a grand opening in a few weeks. Pioneer Plaza includes condos that people can buy and several store fronts.