WILKES-BARRE — Demolition of the shuttered Hotel Sterling is set to begin July 25, an official with the state Department of Environmental Protection said.
Colleen Connolly, DEP community relations coordinator, said contractor Brdaric Construction Co. of Luzerne filed a 10-day notice of demolition Monday with the agency in Harrisburg.
The demolition is expected to take 60 days. City spokeswoman Liza Prokop said City Council would have to approve any extensions of work beyond that date, “but barring unforeseen circumstances, we don’t expect that to happen.”
Road closures and other logistical details related to the work are yet to be determined, Prokop said.
Mayor Tom Leighton said it will be a sad day when the building comes down.
“But the community will ultimately realize the benefits of a redeveloped site,” Leighton said. “It’s taken a long time to come to this point, but soon the detour can be lifted and traffic patterns will return to normal.”
Work crews from Brdaric Construction Co.’s Buck Mountain Quarry in Swoyersville started moving equipment and putting up fencing around the 115-year-old landmark to begin demolition later this month. Brdaric Construction of Luzerne will do the demolition for $419,000.
Brdaric’s low bid was nearly half of what the company bid the first time the city sought contractors to raze the historic structure on the corner of North River and West Market streets. Brdaric quoted $796,000 in June, 2012, when the city first put the project out to bid.
The building has been vacant since 1998. CityVest, the non-profit owner of the property, refused to join with the city and Luzerne County in the demolition project. The county would not agree to release CityVest of Wilkes-Barre from future legal action related to the project.
Controversy has surrounded the building. CityVest tried to prepare the property for development and exhausted its funding, including a $6 million community development loan from the county. CityVest is in the process of dissolving, but the county said it holds a lien on the property for the outstanding loan to CityVest.