Bee’s Backyard is moving across the hall.
The relocation of the children’s play place inside the Marketplace at Steamtown. Scranton, from one side of the second floor to other began Monday, to make way for a new Geisinger facility.
“We’re moving to a new backyard,” Bee’s owner Bridget Moran said.
Bee’s closed temporarily this week so crews could dismantle the large, fixed play structure piece by piece and move it all across the marketplace’s second-floor atrium to the new spot.
Work is underway to reassemble the play structure and Moran hopes to reopen April 21. Bee’s new spot formerly included the Single Tax Office and Timmy’s Town Center.
The Bee’s relocation also resolves a prior landlord-tenant legal dispute that arose in September. The sides have amicably worked the problem out, Moran and marketplace owner John Basalyga said.
“We were finally able to appreciate each other and are happy that we were able to survive the pandemic and continue a brand-new partnership,” Moran said.
Bee’s, which opened in September 2016, was one of the first nontraditional tenants to move into the marketplace soon after Basalyga bought the formerly moribund, mostly empty mall in an auction in July 2015.
Before the pandemic, Bee’s brought 5,000 people a month into the marketplace. Since it reopened post-pandemic, it has been regaining momentum, Moran said.
Basalyga has been converting the former retail mall into a diverse center with retail, educational and medical facilities and an aquarium. Its tenants now include the Scranton Public Market in the former food court, Crunch Fitness on the bridge over Lackawanna Avenue, and in former retail spaces, Luzerne County Community College, Delta Medix, Electric City Aquarium and Reptile Den, Electric City Dentistry and a Social Security Administration office.
In 2019, Geisinger unveiled plans to take over several storefronts in the mall as Geisinger grows orthopedic and sports medicine service lines.
Interior work for a new Geisinger center at the mall continues. It will fill about 83,000 square feet on two floors, with street-level access along Lackawanna Avenue.
Basalyga hopes to complete the Geisinger space in two phases, with the first phase finished around October and the second phase done around the end of the year.
The Geisinger space on the first floor will stretch from the front main entrance opposite Penn Avenue down to the former Bon Ton store at the west end of the mall. Geisinger’s second-story space will extend from Crunch Fitness to the far west end of the mall.
Once Geisinger opens its center at the marketplace, the mall will be 93% occupied, he said.
“What a change from 2015,” Basalyga said.
A reporter for more than two decades, Jim Lockwood covers Scranton for The Times-Tribune, which he joined in 2011 after working at newspapers in New Jersey. His 2012 reporting of Scranton’s deepening financial crisis garnered him a statewide first-place award for news beat coverage in the Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association’s Keystone Press Awards. He also won the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association’s Public Notice Journalism Award in multiple years plus national journalism awards from The Public Notice Resource Center, including a first-place win in 2015, and a second-place showing in 2017. Married with three children, Jim lives in Pike County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 570-348-9100, x5185.