The new owner of the Samter’s building in downtown Scranton plans to convert the vacant, five-story structure into two dozen apartments and a few retail stores.
Charles Jefferson, whose investment groups own Montage Mountain Resorts, the Connell Building on North Washington Avenue and the Leonard Theater on Adams Avenue, purchased the 43,712-square-foot Samter’s building Dec. 28 for the asking price of $500,000 through a company called Scranton-Samter LP.
Mr. Jefferson said Friday that he plans to start interior renovations during the second quarter of this year and hopes to have the building completed by the end of the year.
He plans four to five retail stores on the first floor and two dozen apartments on the upper four floors.
“It will be residential” use, Mr. Jefferson said of most of the building. “I’ll probably wind up with 24” apartments.
Constructed in the 1920s as the Samter Brothers men’s and boy’s clothing store, the building most recently contained offices and has been vacant for a few years.
The Samter’s building went on the block in a sheriff’s sale in October, after Scranton Mall Associates, a firm owned by the Boscov family, defaulted on its mortgage. There were no takers and the foreclosing bank then marketed the building and sold it to Scranton-Samter LP.
Mr. Jefferson has developed several buildings in the downtown.
After redeveloping the Connell building into apartments a few years ago, Mr. Jefferson’s firm converted the former Chamber of Commerce building at Mulberry Street and North Washington Avenue into an apartment building called 426 Mulberry.
During a council meeting earlier this month, Councilman Pat Rogan congratulated Mr. Jefferson on his purchase of the Samter’s building.
“I’m sure he will do an excellent job with that building and I’m looking forward to see what he does,” Mr. Rogan said. “His projects have all been grade A and they have been so successful there have been waiting lists for people to get into his properties.”
The Connell and 426 Mulberry buildings are fully occupied, Mr. Jefferson said.
His firm’s property manager, Jessica Kalinoski, said designs for the Samter’s building layout should be completed soon and leasing may start within a month or so. The plan calls for the upper four floors to each have six one-bedroom apartments, she said. A monthly rent will run about $1,000, she said.
“I expect us to be fully occupied and leased out by the time we open, probably in November (or) December,” she said. “The market downtown is growing. There’s a lot of apartments popping up and they’re all fully occupied, so there’s definitely a market for apartments downtown.”
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