WILKES-BARRE -- A prime piece of real estate in Wilkes-Barre that's been abandoned for a decade is now undergoing a million dollar transformation. Crews are tearing out old train cars at the old Market Street Square as part of a redevelopment project.
Developers have been planning to redo the entire Market Street Square complex in Wilkes-Barre for months.
The first step is to tear down some structures. Crews are dismantling old train cars and removing them from the building.
The old Lehigh & Susquehanna Railroad station was built in 1868. It was later known as the Central Railroad of New Jersey station.
The place was a hotel, restaurant, and nightclub complex in the 1980s.
"I can tell you I had a lot of fun at the station 20 years ago and so have many people my age," said Jeff Thomas.
Thomas owns a packing and shipping company in the square across from the old Lehigh & Susquehanna Railroad Station. The station was built in 1868, and Thomas is glad to see some of the abandoned cars go.
"It's a great location. It's central to everybody downtown, and it's been underutilized for the last several years."
The $1.2 million renovation project will restore the building with retail and office space, and is the brainchild of developer George Albert.
"It's really important for our team to come in here and make a statement and make our vision come true to upgrade this property," Albert said.
City officials call Market Street Square the eastern gateway to Wilkes-Barre because it's somewhat of a first impression when entering this side of the downtown. Officials believe a big overhaul of the dilapidated property is long overdue.
"It's always good whenever we can get new, taxable real estate, development in the city," said Diamond City Partnership executive director Larry Newman. "It's even better when we can do that by repurposing a historical building."
The developer has a few businesses wanting in but is still looking to lease space to retail stores.
The entire project should be up and running in mid-2018.