SCRANTON — Signs are up along a busy intersection in Scranton saying almost an entire city block is up for sale. People who do business in that part of north Scranton said the area’s future is uncertain. But, they’re hopeful for a positive change.
Big yellow signs may draw your eye to part of North Main Avenue in Scranton near Providence Square, while the storefronts may have never caught your attention before.
An auctioneer told Newswatch 16 the owner of all but one of the businesses on one side of the block near Market Street is putting them up for auction in March. That puts the future of Providence Square in question.
Jackie Mead owns Main Street Music just across the street from those auction signs. He sees it as a sign of hope.
“It would be nice if they tore all those old buildings down and put a strip mall over there. A little parking lot in the front, that would be good wouldn`t it? Let`s get Providence going,” he said.
Mead said the block started going downhill in 2008 after a fire in the Buckingham Oriental Rugs store. Since then, few businesses have stayed in the buildings that date back to the 1920’s.
A decade earlier, the block lost its anchor business when the Castle Restaurant closed its doors in 1995.
The list of properties starts with the old iconic Castle Restaurant, and it includes almost all of the buildings on the block that used to be all businesses. The people who are there said they hope to get the block back to what it once was.
“There`s a lot of traffic here and there used to be a lot of commerce. That`s gone downhill in the last five years and I think it should go uphill in the next five years,” said Dr. Jan Charnitski.
Charnitski has had his practice on the block since the neighborhood was in its hey day. And though his building is sandwiched between the ones up for sale, he is still hoping for new development.
“Its got a lot of promise, its got a lot of potential, and I`d just like to see it developed,” he said.
The first step is the sale. The auction is set for mid-March.