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Demolition Begins On Panera Bread Complex In Wilkes-Barre Twp.

March 29, 2019 GMT

WILKES-BARRE TWP — The strip mall anchored by Panera Bread that was ravaged by a tornado in June was finally demolished Friday. A nearby office complex along Mundy Street was razed a day earlier to make way for two restaurants and a new office building. Work should begin in a week or two to start transforming the former Lucky’s Sporthouse property on Schechter Drive into a Chick-fil-A restaurant. Wilkes-Barre Twp.’s Zoning Officer Tom Zedolik had much to report on Friday about progress being made in the commercial district of the township. The strip mall housing Panera Bread was condemned following the June 13 tornado. Other businesses in the complex included America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses, Holiday Hair, LA Nails, Game Stop, Famous Footwear, Sneaker King, and Tovon & Co. Demolition crews razed the property in the Wilkes-Barre Township Commons on Friday as part of plans to ready the site for rebuilding. Plans approved for the project call for a stand-alone Panera Bread and another strip mall with retail space, Zedolik said. “There was a development plan that was approved,” Zedolik said. However, attorneys for the developer indicated they might want to tweak plans, which would have to be approved again, he said. If they want to start building under the current plan, they are free to do so, he said. A time line on when the work would be complete was not available, though a sign at the Panera Bread location in Moosic said the Wilkes-Barre Twp. location would be reopen by the fall of 2019. The office complex along Mundy Street that contained Latona Law and other businesses was also torn down this week. The building, part of the Arena Hub Plaza, was damaged in the tornado but was not condemned. “They wanted to tear it down and replace it with two restaurants,” Zedolik said. The restaurants weren’t identified. A new office building will be built behind the restaurants, Zedolik said. Plans have been also approved to convert the Lucky’s Sporthouse into a Chick-fil-A, he said. “I have been in contact with them. It should be starting soon. Maybe in a week or two,” Zedolik said.