Hazleton Landmark Sold at Tax Sale

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(WBRE/WYOU-TV) A landmark building in Luzerne County that’s been the center of controversy in recent years is once again the focus of concern. It was sold today at a tax sale.  The I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick has the latest chapter for the Hotel Altamont

$400,000 going once $400,000 dollars going twice…sold for $400,000….” and with that begins a future of uncertainty for the 10 stories former hotel at the corner of Broad and Church Streets in Hazleton. It was built in 1880 and has been used a hotel, a minimum security prison, small shops and restaurants. Most recently the owner.

“Hazleton Partners” had plans to transform the place into senior housing…but the company owes nearly $300,000 dollars in back taxes. Today it was on the auction block. We tried speaking with the two people who made the highest bid–they represent a bank….trying to find out what their plans are for the building.

They declined our interview.

  Eyewitness News has learned they are representatives of the bank which carried the mortgage for the property. Also here today and paying close attention to the tax sale Krista Schneider.  She is director of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress.

  “We just want to know what their interests are and follow through to see whoever the owner is so they understand our goal for the downtown,” said Krista Schneider, Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress.

 Schneider is concerned the former hotel could put black eye on their revitalization efforts.   

“We’ve been following this work following this property working with the owner now the new owner we hope to work with as well.”

  “There’s a grave concern that it would be in jeopardy we can lose millions of dollars in a state grant.”  Said Representative Tarah Toohil

 A $2.5 million dollar state grant earmarked for the development of the building

  “We don’t want to end up with an eyesore or a dilapidated building.” Noted Toohil

 Joe Scarcella runs a tuxedo shop in downtown Hazleton–he was sick to his stomach when he heard about the tax sale.

  “It’s a beautiful building a mains stay in the downtown. It’s as long as I have been nearly 47 years-I was hoping a local developer would have grabbed it.”

State Representative Tarah Toohil and Senator John Yudichak said they working to ensure a 2.5 million dollar state grant stays in the city of Hazleton.. For possible use for another project.

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