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Could Mall at Steamtown Be Used as County Office Space?

The Mall at Steamtown has a new owner after an auction and now people wonder if the mall could be used to house some Lackawanna County offices.
The Mall at Steamtown in downtown Scranton has a new owner.

The mall's mortgage holder bought the property for more than $37 million at auction Tuesday morning.

The sheriff's sale isn't the end.

It now opens the door to future sales negotiations and one big retail name says he is still interested.

Al Boscov, the chief executive of the Boscov's Department Store chain helped build the Mall at Steamtown years ago for $90 million.

He was at the Lackawanna County courthouse as the mall was put up for auction.

Boscov did not make a bid but says he's still interested in buying the mall.

"I think if we can get it at the right price we'll be able to fill it, we can make everyone proud of it again, get the right kind of tenants," Al Boscov said.

Business went on as normal at the mall Tuesday after the sale was finished.

The big question many shoppers ask is can a conventional mall like the Mall at Steamtown survive in its current form in the current economy?

"I do believe they need to diversify beyond the conventional retail," Tom Mielczarek of Madisonville said. "There are only so many clothing and shoe-store type of stores a mall can handle."

One idea that has been floated around is for Lackawanna County commissioners to move some county offices into the mall.

"There have been some brief conversations but I don't know if that is their serious intent either and really without ownership there's nothing we can agree to," Boscov said.

Not everyone is in favor of having county offices located in the mall.

"I think it's a bad idea. I think everything is going to fall in place once the dust settles and I think this is a perfect location as a mall for retail space," Francis McHale of Scranton said.
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