SCRANTON -- One of the biggest big box stores in Lackawanna County has been leveled. Crews demolished the former Sears store at the Viewmont Mall, and construction will soon begin on three new stores.
If you visit the mall now, you might notice that a big part is missing.
Sears, one of the mall's former anchor stores, closed this summer. Many shoppers were surprised to see that the structure is no more.
“The first thing that came to mind was, ‘I’m going to miss Sears!’” said Mary Lopez of Clarks Summit. “I was wondering what they were going to do with the space. I didn’t think they were going to knock everything down and build new.”
Mall officials say shoppers will see the new construction before the holiday shopping season. Inside the mall, a sign bears the logos of the new stores. Dick's Sporting Goods and Field & Stream will open a joint store scheduled for fall of 2017.
There will also be additional space for at least one more mall tenant.
Demolition of the former Sears moved quickly.
“Demolition has been in the process for a few months, but once we started, it’s gone down in a matter of weeks,” said Amanda Hoprich, Viewmont Mall.
The progress wasn't all welcome. With it gone, some shoppers were reminded of just how big of a hole Sears will leave.
“That was a big part of it. You could get your car fixed there. You could get your refrigerator. You could get your underwear. You could get anything! I mean, one-stop shopping,” said Janet Morgan of Carbondale.
The former Sears space and a lot of its parking lot will be fenced off for the rest of the year, but mall officials say they studied last year's numbers, and there will still be space for holiday shoppers.
“We will have plenty of parking. We’re making accommodations for our holiday shoppers that this won’t be an issue for them,” Hoprich said.
The holiday shopping season isn't far off. Mall officials say work here will have already started in December. Dick's and Field & Stream are scheduled to be open around this time next year.