WILKES-BARRE -- A century-old church in Luzerne County that`s been closed for years will get a new use.
The former Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Wilkes-Barre is being converted into apartments and an art studio.
The church had been part of the community along Main Street for more than a century until it closed back in 2009 and has sat vacant since.
"We really miss it here, but I'm so happy to hear that something is going to happen with it," said Allen Mullens of Wilkes-Barre.
The Wilkes-Barre zoning board just approved the church to be converted into an art studio and the school into a 30-unit apartment building.
"The reuse of this school and church just makes a lot of people happy that they are not going to be demolished," said Stephen Barrouk with Mericle Commercial Real Estate.
Developers say there were rumors they would turn the property into low-income housing, but that's not the case at all.
"They are not true actually because more of less we plan on retiring on this investment," said Marcello Hameti Alba Properties LLC.
Developers at Alba Properties say they will leave the exterior of the buildings the same, but tear down the chalkboards and remove what looked like a school or church in the inside. Then they will replace the inside with a modern look for young professionals and small families, similar to the look at an old bank the same developers are turning into apartments, near Public Square.
"I think it's going to bring the whole neighborhood up, more or less," Hameti added.
Developers hope to have the building converted within a year, and say it will be all one and two bedroom apartments starting at $900.
Anyone interested in the apartments can contact the developer at DowntownWBrentals@gmail.com or call 570-706-9554.