Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Convention Center turns from catering events to filling cavities

March 18. 2013 10:56PM

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PITTSTON TWP. — For decades the Pittston Convention Hall was known for catered affairs from which music and revelry emanated. Soon, the sounds of dental drills and teeth-cleaning devices will fill the site.

The owners of Casey Dental, a practice now based across from the old banquet facility on Oak Street, have purchased the former convention hall and will relocate to that property. The building was demolished late last year with just the steel beams left intact. A new foundation was poured in December and work has been ongoing ever since.

The current Casey Dental building, which practice founder Shawn Casey owns, has an unclear future. He said several options are being discussed.

Casey said he wanted to expand his current building, but there wasn’t enough land. That spurred Casey, 43, to look for other properties; his goal was to find a location in the same township in which he was born and raised. He didn’t have to look too far.

Through a company he formed, NAMA State LP, he purchased the 2.73-acre, former convention center property last June.

Pittston Township Zoning Officer Terry Best said the plans have been approved by the township’s Planning Commission, and highway occupancy and building permits have been secured. He said all that remains will be an occupancy permit once all the work is done and the dental practice is ready to move in.

That, Casey said, could come as early as the fall.

The new building will have 18,000 square feet, double the current building from which the dental office now operates. The practice employs more than 30, and Casey said that number will grow by a dozen in the new building. Casey said the new practice will welcome individuals with special needs.

“We felt it was something that was needed,” Casey said. “That’s why we wanted to focus on that.”

He said he is proud to be able to be located in his hometown and to serve patients so they do not have to travel out of the Greater Pittston area. Being able to bring new life to an iconic property is an added bonus, Casey noted.

He has attended countless functions at the hall, including proms, and he said those who know he is relocating there are already jokingly asking him “ ‘Are we gonna get served an appetizer when we come to get our teeth cleaned?’ ”

The center, once the social hub for the Greater Pittston area, closed in February 2009. The property was sold at a mortgage foreclosure sheriff sale in 2005 for $103,976 to Pennsylvania National Investors LLC, with addresses listed as in Kingston and Wilkes-Barre. They sold the property to NAMA State LP for $750,000 last June.

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