SCRANTON — Despite pleas from several people to table the vote and allow for a public hearing and more discussion on the topic, the Lackawanna County Commissioners moved forward as planned to enter into an agreement with the Scranton Lackawnna Industrial Building Company (SLIBCO) for the purchase of the former Globe Store at 123 Wyoming Ave. for $1.3 million.
The building will be used in the consolidation of several county offices into one central hub.
Commissioners Patrick O’Malley and Laureen Cummings voted yes, with Commissioner Jerry Notorianni opposed. Notorianni said he is in favor of the consolidation, but feels more time is needed for further vetting of the plan.
“To me, it just doesn’t make any sense that we go forward without looking at this more carefully,” he said, echoing concerns of residents who spoke earlier in the meeting.
Cummings, on the other hand, believes discussion on the topic is exhausted.
“This is ridiculous,” she said. “It’s absolute insanity. I don’t know how much more information the public is looking for.”
She added anyone with questions could have asked them at any of the county’s public meetings, at which the topic was on the agendas.
“I’m sorry,” Cummings said. “I’m not someone who sits around and waits for things to happen. I like to get it done.”
The six-floor, 225,964 square foot historic landmark, also known as the MetroTech Center, will be used to consolidate several county government offices into one central hub. According to the commissioners’ cost and savings analysis, this will save the county a total of 122,734.43 annually in rent payments, electric and gas bills.
“History and the future come together today,” O’Malley said during a press conference in front of the building, following the vote. “The historical Globe Store and Lackawanna County government come together, consolidating office space and it won’t cost our taxpayers a penny. That’s actually budget positive, not just budget neutral.”
The Globe Store was an upscale department store with a small restaurant, the Charlmont, attached. It opened in the 1880s and operated for more than a century, closing its doors in 1994. Most recently, the building was occupied for about 15 years by Diversified Information Technologies, until 2014.
The county estimates the project will take from 18 months to two years to complete before the building is occupied by county departments.
Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.