Apartments on the way Retrofit of former Lackawanna County administration building progressing

Apartments on the way

Retrofit of former Lackawanna County Administration building progressing as seen in the Scranton Times on July 13, 2020 by Jeff horvath

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The longtime headquarters of Lackawanna County government will soon offer 65 apartments boasting leather-finished granite, picturesque views of down Scranton and nearly century-old original hardwood floors.

The county closed in December on the $1.62 million sale of its former administration building at 200 Adams Ave. to Scranton-Spruce LLC, a firm of developer Charles Jefferson. County officials vacated the former Stoehr & Fister Building at Adams Avenue and Spruce Street early last year when they moved their offices to the Lackawanna County Government Center on Wyoming Avenue.

The Adams Avenue building, constructed as a warehouse and showroom by the Stoehr & Fister Furniture Co., was completed in 1923 and acquired by the county in 1971.

Jefferson joined county officials in December to announce details of his $14 million retrofit of the landmark building to include both rental units and retail space. Lavish, which has a salon and retail space at Linden Street and Adams Avenue and a spa at Jefferson’s Connell Lofts building on North Washington Avenue, will move both operations into 7,000 square feet of street-level space at 200 Adams Ave., Jefferson and Lavish co-owner Micah Woodard said.

Jefferson originally said Lavish might occupy the new space as early as May. Residential tenants, he said in December, might move in as early as September.

The coronavirus pandemic changed those timelines and bumped the price of the conversion project to about $14.5 million, but the retrofit is progressing. Internal demolition is almost 100% complete and the building’s third, fourth, fifth and sixth floors are fully framed, Jefferson said.

The sixth floor, which formerly housed county commissioners’ offices, is the furthest along. Apartments featuring original hardwood floors from 1923 and views of Courthouse Square, the Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel and other iconic examples of downtown architecture could see tenants as early as October, Jeffers said.

“I think Scranton is poised for growth, because it’s not a heavily, densely populated metro area,” Jefferson said, arguing many people who want to live in a city don’t want to live “on top of each other” in congested settings, especially during a pandemic. “We have that alternative.”

Jefferson is adding about 30 windows to the rear of the building facing Jefferson Avenue, giving renters a view of the Radisson and surrounding cityscape. In addition to Lavish’s space, the building’s ground floor will include 1,000 square feet of rentable retail space that doesn’t yet have a tenant.

Jessica Kalinoski, director of operations for Admiral Management Services, which manages Jefferson’s downtown Scranton properties, said they’ve already rented nine units, mostly to people moving to Scranton from outside the area who can work from home.

“They want to move to a city where they can get more room, more space for their value,” Kalinoski said, noting the building will include one- and two-bedroom apartments with monthly rent ranging from $995 to $1,950.

Lavish, which signed a 15-year lease at 200 Adams Ave., now plans to relocate to the space early next year, likely in January. The holiday season and the weeks prior are the company’s busiest time of the year and Woodard said they don’t want to move operations during that busy season.

Still, Woodard is excited for the space and opportunity the renovated building will provide.

“In this new COVID world where we’re only able to operate at 50%, square footage is like gold,” Woodard said. “For us, we’re very excited to be in the new location. It will give us a little room to stretch our legs and to grow. And for us that’s our long-term home.”

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