Posted: Tuesday, October 06, 1992
SCRANTON — The Mall at Steamtown is no longer a dream. Construction began Monday on the long-awaited $101 million project.
“This is a great day for the city of Scranton,” said Mayor Jim Connors.
Slabs of pre-fabricated concrete, measuring 12 by 60 feet and weighing about 30 tons each, were set in place by a 200-ton crane, he said.
Connors said those slabs will form the foundation for a parking garage, located next to the Scranton State Office Building, and the floor for Montgomery Ward, one of the mall’s two anchor stores. The other is a Boscov’s Department Store.
“People say seeing is believing,” Connors said. “This is the first time that people have seen the superstructure of the mall.
“Up until now, we’ve seen site acquisition, litigation, implosion, site preparation and now, very quickly, this mall is going to go up.”
The project manager told Connors a mild winter is needed to get the shell of the mall built by the end of the year. The mall is to open in October 1993.
“That would give them a whole 10 months to work inside,” he said.
Connors said the design of the new mall will fit in with the industrial theme of the National Historic Park at Steamtown.
“It will be a modern building with many of the themes of Steamtown in terms of the rail and coal industries,” he said.
Eventually, the mall will be connected, via bridges, with Steamtown and the Globe Store.
Connors said the goal of the project is to pull people into the downtown.
Motorists traveling in downtown Scranton can expect traffic delays along Lackawanna Avenue and the 100 block of South Washington Avenue for a few days as construction material is brought to the mall site.
In addition to the 12-acre mall on the 200, 300 and 400 blocks of Lackawanna Avenue, the project also includes the restoration of the historic Oppenheim and Samter buildings, which will be used for office and retail space.