Design work nearly buttoned up on counseling center
SCRANTON — The first floor of 329 Cherry St. is almost completely vacant, save a stack of lumber in a corner, cards with prices printed on them — the remnants of an auction — and a few other odd items such as an old coffee can and Gatorade bottle.
By the end of next year, the site could be home to the Scranton Counseling Center. The planning and design phase for a redevelopment project that will see the center move operations from downtown to the former button factory in South Side is almost wrapped up and work could begin by the second quarter of next year, developer Charles Jefferson said.
Architects and planners for the project are working with staff at the counseling center to iron out plans before work begins to make sure departments and offices are properly placed for when the center would move operations there, Jefferson said.
“In that respect, those things will drive the design and some of the aesthetics,” Jefferson said, adding they hope to have drawings and plans completed by mid-December. “It’s about making sure the building is functional and serves the intended purpose for many years to come.”
Jefferson hopes to have the project at the 108,000-square-foot building, located on Cedar Avenue at Cherry Street, completed by the end of next year. All three floors of the building will be completely renovated, with warehouse space at the rear of the building demolished to make way for parking, said Joe Fabricatore of Admiral Management Services LLC, a Jefferson company.
Scranton Counseling Center, a private, nonprofit entity established in 1947, has occupied a former Sears building and an unconnected structure two doors away on the 300 block of Adams Avenue for about 30 years. The center’s operations are separated by a vacant, unrelated and blighted building. Jefferson bought the center’s current locations and plans to revitalize them to feature commercial space on the ground level and residential units on upper floors.
In all, the projects will cost about $10 million, to be covered by funds the center had earmarked for renovations to their current site, proceeds from the sale to Jefferson, funding from private organizations and grant funding from the state, Jefferson said. Earlier this year, the project received $2 million in state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funds, which requires a dollar-for-dollar match in non-state funding in the project, and all project-related expenses must be incurred and satisfied in advance of approved reimbursements from the state. The project also received $1 million in RACP funding in both 2016 and 2017.
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Samter’s project near completion
As the button factory project moves toward starting, another Jefferson development is nearing completion.
Renovations to the former Samter’s building at Penn and Lackawanna avenues will be completed by the end of the month, Jefferson said. All but two of the 24 apartments in the top floors of the five- story building have been leased, Jefferson said. He has been in talks with some businesses to occupy commercial space on the first floor, he added.
Built as the Samter’s clothing store for men and boys, it closed in 1977. The building later contained state government offices but had been empty for years.
— CLAYTON OVER