Tavern, job incubator also taking shape
Three projects in the makeover of West Broad Street in downtown Hazleton should be completed this year.
They include the new city arts center, Broad & Barrel tavern and the Penn State LaunchBox. A fourth project, the renovation of Dragon Chinese Restaurant, is complete.
Broad & Barrel, an Irishstyle pub, is slated to open this summer at 21-23 W. Broad St., in a building formerly occupied by Remember When.
The tavern will have indoor and outdoor seating and performance stages in the former pocket park between it and the new arts center. The outdoor facility also will have fire pits.
It will be like nothing the Hazleton area has seen, said Kathy Chiriboga, who is leading the development team for the business.
“The inside of the pub will be modern, like a steakhouse and an Irish pub,” she said. “Our menu will be farm-totable fresh and will be made up of different types of foods you see in a larger city. There will be live music.”
Chiriboga’s father, Ken Gottstein, of Gottstein Corp. — an industrial and mechanical contractor specializing in the food and beverage industry — will build the pub interior.
“We will manufacture just about everything in there,” Gottstein said. “We are waiting for drawings and to obtain permits to continue with the inside renovations. Construction will start any day. At first, we anticipated a winter opening. We are now looking at a late spring or early summer opening. We will have valet parking.”
Broad & Barrel is not the firm’s first tavern. They also built and operate the Tap at Humboldt Beer Depot along Route 924 in Humboldt, which has 25 beers from all over the world on tap, plus a number of bourbons, single-malt scotch, as well as hot and cold sandwiches and flatbread pizza.
The company also built and operates Elevate Fitness & Wellness center in the former Hazle Twp. High School at North Church and 15th streets.
Gottstein Corp. employs 200 at seven locations in the United States and Mexico, and generates $9 million annually for the local economy, according to Gottstein.
Also scheduled to open this year is a job incubator that is a partnership between Penn State Hazleton, CAN DO Inc., the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress and the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce. It will be located in a former bingo hall at 13-15 W. Broad St.
CAN DO renovated the building’s exterior. The downtown alliance recently readvertised for bids for interior work for the Penn State LaunchBox, which will be known as The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative.
“The first set of bids came in high,” Krista Schneider, executive director of the alliance, said. “So we had to take some of the items out, and rebid it.”
The rebid has pushed back the target to open the new incubator — where entrepreneurs can start a business, with professional help — about six months, to this summer, Schneider said.
Its first floor will be flex space with movable walls and tables, and conference rooms. There will also be areas common to all incubator tenants — a café area with countertops, coffee makers, microwaves and a refrigerator, and small “maker space” with 3-D printers and other office equipment.
Jocelyn Sterenchock, director of entrepreneurial services for CAN DO, said although the Launch Box has not yet opened, the program is in operation.
It consists of a four-week “boot camp” twice a year (the first began in the fall) and a 15-week accelerator program once a year in the spring.
Sterenchock called the program “the meat and potatoes” of how entrepreneurs will learn to grow a successful business.
Community Bank, N.A., recently presented $5,000 to the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress. The donation is part of a larger Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Neighborhood Assistance Program, Special Project Priorities tax credit application. From left are John Dorneman, Community Bank vice president and commercial banking officer; Krista Schneider, downtown alliance executive director; and Barbara Maculloch, Community Bank president of Pennsylvania banking. The alliance will dedicate the funds to 2019 entrepreneurship education programming of the Penn State LaunchBox, which is scheduled for completion this summer.