HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- A landmark building in Hazleton that’s falling apart has a new owner.

The former Saint Joseph’s Hospital has been vacant for more than a decade. Promises from its owners have fallen by the wayside. There’s now a renewed hope among city officials and residents that finally something will be done to breathe new life into the once proud building in the Mountain City.

“It used to be such a place of hope,” said Geri Berger of Hazleton.

Berger is happy to hear there is a new owner for the old hospital on North Church Street.

“I remember as a kid I lived in this neighborhood,” she said. “We’d even come up and play in this area. It’s really sad to see it this way. I am hoping it’s something no matter what they decide to do, I think it would be great to have progress coming back in Hazleton.”

The building was closed in the mid 2000’s and has been slowly but surely falling apart. A New York real estate company was supposed to turn it into senior housing but that never happened.

A Texas-based company called Woodcrest Capital purchased it late last year. The company is a nationally-recognized firm that deals in real estate development.

“We have been in contact with them,” said Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat. “They have been notified the project must start relatively soon or they would be cited, as was the last owner.”

Cusat is cautiously optimistic the landmark property, which he says is now a safety threat to the neighborhood, will be returned to its once prominent status.

“I’m just glad it’s back on the tax rolls,” he said. “I’m happy if they do something to develop it into what they hope to do.”

Newly elected councilman Tony Colombo has some ideas of how the property can be used.

“I was hoping it could turn into a home for homeless veterans or for homeless people, or even low-income housing,” he said.

The mayor says he had no idea what plans the company has for the former Saint Joe’s Hospital. We did reach out to officials at Woodcrest Capital, they have not yet returned our call or e-mail.

Hazleton officials levied tens of thousands of dollars in fines on the previous owner in an effort to force the company to take action on the building, but most of those fines have yet to be paid.