SCRANTON — Inside The Mall at Steamtown many stores are now empty, including the space that housed the former Bon Ton store, which was one of the anchors of the retail center. After Tuesday’s sale there were a number of ideas about what should be done to save the mall, including one that could be considered somewhat out of the box.
The mall’s mortgage holder bought the struggling retail center at sheriffs sale, taking over the $37.2 million that’s left on the mortgage.
The owner of the mall’s only anchor store, Al Boscov, announced he wants to buy the mall from the new buyer if the price is right.
Lackawanna County leaders revealed they’d be open to moving county offices into the mall if the price is right.
And then there’s Michele Dempsey, an architect with offices just a block from The Mall at Steamtown.
“The urban mall, it’s not working anywhere right now. So I think the way we save the mall is to deconstruct it and turn it into a destination,” Dempsey said.
Dempsey’s plan included taking the roof off much of the mall and making it into an outdoor neighborhood with offices, retail shops, and residences.
She even advocated extending Wyoming Avenue and Penn Avenue right through the new community.
Dempsey’s idea would keep Boscov’s as an anchor.
While she didn’t agree with moving county offices into the existing mall, she pointed out there would be room for them in the new outdoor neighborhood.
Dempsey didn’t immediately know how much her plan would cost, but she said the right investment group with the right vision and resources could make it happen.
“Just turn the mall inside out. Give it back to the street. Give it the vibrant storefronts again, because right now when you walk down those four blocks, it’s a little bit of a dead zone.”