SCRANTON, Pa. -- Plans to develop the former Scranton Lace Factory along Albright Avenue have been discussed for years but never seemed to get off the ground.
Now, it appears the property could be taking on new life.
Scranton city officials say developers are preparing to start demolition work in the very near future.
“The oldest and most historic building that are in still good shape are going to be completely restored,” said city council president Pat Rogan. “There are some buildings that are in complete disrepair that are a safety hazard, those ones are going to be demolished, we're going to see that work begin as soon as next week.”
The place has been vacant since 2002 and is considered to be not only an eyesore but also a public nuisance.
"I'm very happy they're going to do something with it, it is an eyesore and I'd like to see the neighborhood developed,” said Frank Peffer who has run Peffers Athletic Club near the lace factory for 42 years.
"I remember when they were making lace there. The guys used to come over after work and work out here,” said Peffer.
This artist's rendering shows an overview of what is being planned, which is a blend of commercial and residential buildings.
“The developer's plans are to turn this into a modern urban village with new construction townhomes, lofts in the former lace building,” said Rogan. “There's plans for commercial space on the first floor as well. We're in talks with a bakery, a day care.”
Chuck Wall owns the Meat Locker a block away from the lace factory.
"I think it's awesome, it's going put a lot of people in here, good for the community,” said Wall.
Of course, one well-known feature of the factory that will definitely be left in place is the iconic clock tower.
"It's really going to transform something that's an eyesore into something that's a huge asset for the city of Scranton,” said Rogan.
Rogan says the developers met with the city police and fire departments here yesterday to discuss demolition plans but at this time there are no plans to close any surrounding streets to traffic.