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Condemned Wilkes-Barre Buildings Coming Down

WILKES-BARRE — Demolition is now underway on a strip of buildings along South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre.

City officials condemned the buildings just a few weeks ago after a report found they were unsafe.

Crews started demolition the corner of West Northampton Street and South Main Street Monday morning.

A whole portion of one of the buildings was torn down in just a few hours.

Just a few months after the demolition of the Hotel Sterling, four more buildings in the city are now in the process of coming down.

“Friday, they were still standing. Now it’s like they’re almost gone. I can’t believe it,” said Martha Hart of Wilkes-Barre.

Code enforcement condemned the buildings a few weeks ago.

All of them will go except the attached buildings that weren’t condemned, the ones with businesses Place 1 at the Hollywood and Frank Clark Jewelers. They’ve moved temporarily while the demolition happens.

Stell Enterprises is tearing down the condemned buildings for the cheapest price the city received $194,000.

People watching this all happen say they have a lot of memories from being inside the buildings.

“Bittersweet. I mean a lot of good memories, but seeing a lot of those good memories get knocked down is not very fun,” said Chad Mummert of Alden.

Mummert says the now-demolished building used to be a coffee shop where musicians would play.  He used to go there all the time.

“A lot of history’s going down in Wilkes-Barre anymore. It’s kind of a shame.”

Others say they’d like to see something positive replace the crumbling buildings.

“More stores, more things for the kids to do. The adults have enough to do, but more for the children,” said Arthur Cardascia of Wilkes-Barre.

But Mummert says that’s exactly what was once there before things turned sour.

“Some of my best memories playing music is actually going down with this building. So at least I have my memories.”

There are still no definite plans for the site.

Demolition is expected to continue through at least November 22.

DEP was on site here to check for asbestos and found none in the first two buildings. The other two buildings will be inspected Tuesday.

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