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Monday, March 21, 2011

What Might Have Been

The wrecking ball is rolling toward the demolition of the Hotel Sterling in Wilkes-Barre, and it appears nothing can be done to stop it.

A "Save the Sterling" Facebook page has popped up, and I wish those people well.

The powers that be tell us the Sterling is too far gone.  It will cost too much to turn it into condos and apartments.  No developers have stepped forward.  It's time to face facts and get rid of the building.  An empty piece of land will be worth more money, and it will be more attractive to developers.

That's all well and good, and it appears most of it is true.

You can also argue that we didn't do right by the Sterling.  Millions of dollars have been pumped into the project.  It might not have been too little, but it was too late.  Plenty of people "believe" the money wasn't used effectively.  The Sterling project was bungled from the start.  The politicans served every interest, except that of saving a landmark.

It's not a bad looking building from the outside, but far from spectacular.  I'm sure that could be changed.
The real beauty is on the inside-- massive columns, and plenty of marble.  No, that isn't me leaning against one of the columns.

There's a lot of history here-- visits by stars and politicians.  The Sterling was home to WBRE radio and the Citizens Voice.  I covered several election night parties here, victories and defeats.

As I've noted here in the past, it seems the only ones with money to spend these days are colleges and universities, and Walmart.  It's too bad one of the colleges, Kings of Wilkes, didn't have the cash to get involved-- dorms on the upper floors, with events in that spectacular lobby.

It's time to move on, but with the nagging feeling that this project should have had a better outcome.