WILKES-BARRE — Officials say a crumbling high-rise will finally be torn down this summer.
The lowest bidder for the demolition of the Hotel Sterling is from Luzerne County.
Wilkes-Barre officials say work to start tearing down the century-old hotel should start next month.
But the demolition will be slow process, all because of a bunch of birds.
Following years of delays from funding tie-ups and campaigns to save the historic building, Wilkes-Barre officials say the Hotel Sterling will finally be leveled this summer.
Brdaric Excavating of Luzerne outbid 13 other contractors, several from out of state. The owner says he can tear down the 14-story building for $419,000.
“(It’s) just an eyesore. It’s just really ugly. It should just come down.”
Maryanne Pickett says she won’t miss the Hotel Sterling. Engineers said it was at risk of collapse in 2011 after the basement flooded during Tropical Storm Lee.
Since then, several streets and sidewalks have been blocked off.
Owners at the Center City Cafe say they haven’t seen loyal customers in months because of all of the detours downtown.
“You can tell that word would spread, and people do avoid this section of town,” said Regina Poplawski of Wilkes-Barre.
The city’s attorneys say the Hotel Sterling must be torn down piece by piece. The historic building cannot be imploded, because the state game commission is worried about Peregrine Falcons. Officials have been keeping a close eye on the birds, which have a nest on the Market Street Bridge.
City Assistant Attorney Bill Vinsko says Wilkes-Barre has enough state and federal funding secured to pay for the demolition.
Inspectors will need to do a final review before work starts to see if any more streets or sidewalks around the Sterling will have to be shut down.
“When you have a lot of traffic coming down River Street and Market Street, you have pedestrians walking around and, of course, that’s a very busy area for businesses, we want to be very, very careful and we’re going to be watching them, but we know they’re going to do a good job,” Vinsko said.
The city needs to review the bid before it’s approved. The $419,000 bid was about half of what the high bid was: close to $1 million.
The contractor from Luzerne told us he thinks he can have the Sterling down by September..