HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) Another developer has big plans for the former Altamont hotel in downtown Hazleton.
That makes three developers over the past decade. Two of which Failed to produce. Lead I-Team reporter Andy Mehalshick
“Well, we are being cautious because we’ve been had twice before you know. We are gun shy,“ said Joe Scarcella– Metallo’s Formal Wear Owner
And we heard the same thing from other business owners in downtown Hazleton about the former Altamont Hotel. The ten-story building was built in 1880 and has been used as a hotel, a minimum security prison, small shops and restaurants. But it failed in each go around.
It was sold at tax sale in October to the bank that held its mortgage. Now a developer wants to breathe new life into the landmark building -and transform it into a taxpaying property.
”This is welcome news. These folks want to do somewhere between $10 and 15 million dollar project, and they are looking at not only housing but also retail,“ Said Sen. John Yudichak– (D) Luzerne And Carbon Counties.
State Senator John Yudichak helped secure a $2.5 million dollar grant for the previous developers. He is confident that this company, is the real deal. So much so he thinks that grant can be salvaged for this project.
“They are looking at restoring the lobby having a kitchen having a banquet hall, a lounge a restaurant. Restoring it back to its former glory,“ Sen. Yudichak told Eyewitness News.
And that is music to the ears of people like Barbara Kocur, “There are a lot of people in this city that really appreciate history and the architecture of the building.“
While at the same time getting the building back on the tax rolls.
“Well, it could become one of the highest taxing properties in the city depending on who moves into it,“ said Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat.
Joe Scarcella has run a tuxedo shop near the Altamont for nearly 50 years he added “It sounds like it’s the real deal. If it’s the real deal it’s only going to help the whole downtown area.“