City Council agreed last week to give land development approval for the Pioneer Plaza project on South Main Street.  This will allow construction to begin, weather permitting, once the bidding process is completed.


City Council agreed last week to give land development approval for the Pioneer Plaza project on South Main Street.  This will allow construction to begin, weather permitting, once the bidding process is completed.
City Clerk Michele Bannon pointed out that the project had already received approval from the city Planning Commission, Lackawanna County Planning Commission, Lackawanna County Soil & Conservation District, and the city engineer.
Councilman Dr. Joseph Marzzacco noted that the county Planning Commission approved the plaza for 77,610 square feet whereas the city Planning Commission had the square footage listed at 68,018.
“It’s a difference of about 9,000 square feet,” he offered, “which begs the question, has the project been made smaller?”
Community Development director Christine Tocki-Mulvey replied that the difference is due to an additional lot that was purchased as part of the land acquisition, but she said it won’t affect the size of the plaza itself or its various components.
The project was recently put out to bid as 17 separate trades, and proposals were submitted for 14 of those trades.  Mayor Justin Taylor told the NEWS earlier this month that the bids came in about $1 million overbudget.  However, he said that figure could be reduced by seeking better prices from the bidders on building materials and the like.
He explained that project developer Daniel Siniawa will either have to rebid the three remaining trades or rebid the entire project as one package and hope to bring the cost within budget that way.
At last week’s meeting, Taylor informed the council members that the rebidding will take place right after the New Year’s holiday weekend.  Marzzacco responded that this didn’t bode too well for the project’s long-delayed starting date.
“So we’re looking at spring again to start this?” he asked.
Taylor said it shouldn’t take that long because he believes Siniawa is going to rebid the project as one package — as opposed to sticking with the idea of doing it as 17 different trades.  That, in turn, will shorten the bidding process, he assured council.
“It’ll be quick,” he noted. 
Council approved the land development plan by a 6-1 vote, with Councilman Francis Lagana dissenting.  Lagana has opposed the project from its inception, saying he doesn’t believe Carbondale needs a hotel or that the project would be financially viable if completed, and he has consistently voted against any project authorization for those reasons.