SCRANTON, Pa. — Digging up dirt is a new venture for developer John Basalyga who has made a name for himself rehabbing historic buildings in Lackawanna County.
When he bought the former Red Carpet Inn site on the corner of Mulberry Street and Franklin Avenue in downtown Scranton he thought the city deserved something new.
"The most attractive thing to this site, it's just the logistics of where it's at. I mean, you can't get a better spot, coming in off the Scranton Expressway and off of Mulberry Street, Franklin, very busy. I saw a great chance to make something grand for Scranton," said Basalyga.
Basalyga is sharing the preliminary plans for the yet unnamed building which will stand at 17 stories making it the tallest building in The Electric City.
Basalyga envisions apartments, retail, and event spaces for the massive multi-million dollar development that will likely take several years to complete.
It's a project Basalyga takes personally, "You know, every day I get people coming up to me and saying, 'thank you for what you're doing. Thank you for believing in it.' I think that's great. For me, it's home, why not fix it," he said.
Businesses and residents in downtown say they're excited to be in the building's shadow.
"When you go to a big city you always see these big buildings and everything like that. Scranton doesn't really have that. I think downtown is really becoming that market. I think it's going to be awesome to be a big massive building, it's going to bring a lot of people into the city," said Sam Parlopiano, The Salad Shop.
"It's a beautiful city we have here, Scranton. It's an old city and it adds the flair Scranton's kind of been missing. Something to say, 'here we are, we're Scranton, man," said Gerald Nagoda, Scranton.
The demolition phase is nearly complete. Basalyga says to expect some construction to begin later on this year.
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