SCRANTON --Lackawanna County Commissioners voted Friday morning to buy the old Globe department store building for $1.3 million.
Many may remember The Globe Store's old slogan, "you can shop around the world and never leave Scranton."
County officials unintentionally played off that slogan when they announced their plan. They want residents to be able to visit each county office and never leave downtown.
Commissioners approved a purchase deal for the Globe building Friday and it will soon become "The Lackawanna County Government Center."
A small crowd filled the first floor of the former Globe store as Lackawanna County commissioners prepared to vote on whether to purchase the old department store's building on Wyoming Avenue.
City and county leaders were largely in support of the plan to buy the Globe for $1.3 million.
"This building holds great memories, as we all know, for so many Scrantonians. And we look forward to the revitalization of the Wyoming street corridor," said Andrea Mulrine of Scranton Tomorrow.
Lackawanna County is unusual in that many of its offices are spread throughout the county. Under the plan, most county offices would move to the Globe building.
Lackawanna County would sell its main office building on Adams Avenue.
Some county residents thought the consolidation plan was rushed through.
"There should be a public hearing here," said Bob Bolus. 'Let us speak out, let us tell you what we want."
"I'm irritated that this is a special meeting," said city resident Marie Schumacher. "I'm irritated that there's no package for me to review that shows the actual cost-benefit analysis that can be verified."
Commissioner Jerry Notarianni echoed those sentiments and would be the only commissioner to vote "no" on the purchase deal.
"This happens along the way, you know?" said Commissioner Pat O'Malley. "But you know what? Progress cannot be stopped. And county government is proactive, not reactive, and we're moving forward. That's what I was elected to do. Commissioner Cummings was too, and we're here to make it happen."
It seems that Commissioners O'Malley and Cummings had no intention of delaying the vote. After they signed the purchase deal, they held a news conference to reveal the Globe's new name that didn't go as smoothly as planned.
What we remember as The Globe will be called " Lackawanna County Government Center at The Globe."
"We're trying to get as much accomplished as we can while the rates are low while we have the ability to consolidate while we have the ability to bring down our debt, so we can hopefully bring the taxes down for the residents. That's the end goal," said Commissioner Cummings.
Lackawanna County still needs to finalize the purchase of the Globe building but the commissioners expect renovations to begin in about four months. Realistically, county workers won't be moving here until about two years from now.
Renovations are expected to cost about $18 million that the county will pay off over 25 years.
The commissioners believe savings on rent of other facilities will offset the cost of buying and renovating the Globe.
Commissioner Notarianni expressed reservations on making the vote at this meeting and called for public hearings before a final vote.
Commissioner Cummings, who has been in favor of county consolidation in the past, countered, " How many more questions could we possibly have?"
The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce currently owns the Globe building. Chamber president Bob Durkin says there have been no serious inquiries to buy the building other than the county.