As I've said here before, it seems like the only entities with the money to expand these days are hospitals, dollar stores... and colleges.
Luzerne County Community College wanted a presence in Lackawanna County for a while. Management says it looked at 30 sites before settling on the second floor of the Marketplace at Steamtown, formerly the Mall at Steamtown, in downtown Scranton.
The mall has been a big part of my career. I covered every tedious development in the struggle to build it. I broadcast, live, the implosion that cleared the way for it. I did the first live shot from inside the mall, the night before the grand opening. I was there when store after store after store closed.
The ribbon on LCCC's campus on the mall's second floor was cut Tuesday morning, and I was there for that, too. LCCC is taking over most of the second floor space vacated when Bon Ton left.
It's clear the mall's future is not retail. Office space is already here, and LCCC is the newest non traditional tenant. I can't speak for the finances, but it appears to make sense. There's room, plenty of parking, restaurants, public transportation... It helps fill the need for an affordable higher education, even though Lackawanna College is just up the street.
The ribbon cutting was set for 11 AM, not the greatest time for TV. Photographer Steve and I got there early to get some video and do some interviews. We still needed the signature shot of the big scissors, but that came after speeches. With video stored on the camera card, we got outside to the truck and put something together for the noon broadcast. We made it with five minutes to spare.
After the noon live shot, Steve went back inside to get more video. He'd be working with the afternoon crew. My shift, which began at 2:30 AM was over, so I jumped in my car to head home.
I can't see how LCCC at the Marketplace at Steamtown could fail, but you never know, and we'll be following this one closely in the months to come.