A Need for Luxury Housing in Downtown Wilkes-Barre?

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WILKES-BARRE -- The city of Wilkes-Barre recently announced a $28 million project that would turn a now vacant building in the heart of downtown into a hotel and luxury housing.

In recent years, the Diamond City's downtown has seen a bit of a renaissance, with some new restaurants, stores, and a movie theater.

But, is there a demand for luxury housing in downtown Wilkes-Barre? Some say there's proof the answer is yes.

In a few months, crews will start working to transform a vacant building just off Public Square in Wilkes-Barre into a new hotel at least 10 stories high.

During a recent announcement, city officials said several floors of the new building will also have luxury apartments and condos.

"I find it hard to believe there is a demand for luxury apartments in the city of Wilkes-Barre, considering the socio-economics of this area. Who can afford those apartments?" asked Dave Felker of Wilkes-Barre.

Jeff Pyros manages the luxury apartments inside the Luzerne Bank building. They've been filled up since opening in 2012, renting to mostly young professionals working downtown, looking for something with a more modern look.

"There are not a lot of newer complexes in the area. Most of the housing here is either half a double block or a house for rent," Pyros said.

EBay recently announced that it is moving its headquarters to downtown Wilkes-Barre adding about 50 more jobs to the area. It's a move like that, that has some people saying there is an increasing demand for luxury housing here.

"Things are happening downtown. I mean people are coming downtown. People are starting to realize that there is a downtown."

As far as Pyros is concerned, there is promise for the success of the new hotel and luxury housing building in Wilkes-Barre. It is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2017.

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