SCRANTON, Pa. -- The Marketplace at Steamtown is about to undergo a massive remodeling. Geisinger announced Thursday its plans to build a new facility there.
Since the shopping center changed its name from the Mall at Steamtown to The Marketplace at Steamtown three years ago, two major tenants have moved in, neither of which is a retail store -- Luzerne County Community College and Delta Medix.
Now, the Marketplace is continuing its move away from retail even further with plans to add another medical facility.
Geisinger plans to build an orthopedic and sports medicine center that will take up two floors of the former mall in downtown Scranton.
"I think it's a good thing. I think it's going to pretty much turn into a medical mall," Rich Mazza said.
The new facility will fill the rest of the space that's been vacant since 2015 when former anchor store Bon-Ton moved out.
It will replace nearly half of the top floor, stretching from above Delta Medix all the way down to Crunch Fitness. The massive remodeling will require more than half a dozen stores to relocate.
The facility will also fill vacant spaces on the lower floor.
Marketplace retailers hope fewer vacancies mean more customers.
It's good news for the Center City Wine Cellar, which will be located right across from the new orthopedics center.
"They don't really know about us yet, so it's exciting that Geisinger is putting that space in here, to get that word out there that people are here, we're here!" said Kalie Black, Center City Wine Cellar.
Some businesses in the Marketplace, like Basilico's Pizzeria, felt the boost in business last year when Delta Medix moved in. They're hopeful that another major tenant will bring even more hungry customers into the shopping center.
"It's a really good business opportunity for us. As long as Delta Medix has been here, not only the employees have been coming up, we have a lot of the patients coming up, too, so hopefully it brings a little bit more life into here," Nick Abda said.
With online shopping causing hundreds of malls nationwide to struggle or shut their doors, business owners at Steamtown hope Geisinger's move means the Marketplace is here to stay.
"I think it means that we have a future here, you know. Sometimes we feel a little uncertain with days that are slower because malls are going out of business and people don't realize that we're up and coming, you know, a lot of things have changed. So for Geisinger to come here is very promising, I think people are going to be knocking our doors down soon to fill our spaces," Black said.
John Basalyga, owner of The Marketplace at Steamtown says the goal is to have the project completed by the end of next year.