Following years of progress on the revitalization of Downtown Hazleton, CAN DO, the City of Hazleton, the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress (DHAP) continue to foster a vision of attracting more marquee hospitality businesses to downtown Hazleton where patrons could sit down to enjoy dinner and live entertainment.
CAN DO helped to build upon this vision when it purchased an 11,000 square-foot vacant property at 21-23 West Broad Street, in the core block of Downtown Hazleton’s central business district.
CAN DO’s goal was to revitalize the property and convert it into a microbrewery and restaurant that would serve as a hospitality destination for downtown Hazleton. Ken and Barbara Gottstein soon stepped forward with a commitment to develop a restaurant with a similar vision.
Due to unforeseen challenges related to the pandemic, as well as the significant increase in construction costs, CAN DO and the Gottstein’s had no choice but to pause the continuation of this project in 2020. However, all parties remained committed to developing the property and CAN DO recently applied for and was awarded a $236,250 Keystone Communities Program grant to assist with the rehabilitation of the property.
The funding received will be used to complete additional construction needs, including the installation of firewalls, sprinkler and HVAC systems, plumbing, electrical, and other critical infrastructure required to meet business codes.
Although the $236,250 does not get the project to the finish line, it does provide the necessary spark to dust off the plans and continue the project.
CAN DO President & CEO Joseph Lettiere said, “CAN DO remains committed to working with the Gottstein’s, DHAP, the Mayor (City of Hazleton), the Chamber, and our other partners to revitalize Downtown Hazleton. We are grateful that this funding will allow us to move one-step closer to completing this project. Without the grant, this project would otherwise not be feasible given the current market conditions. We want to use tangible projects like this restaurant to show our long-term commitment to the City and belief that we can create a downtown that becomes a destination for Greater Hazleton.”
In addition to the funding received through the Keystone Communities Program, CAN DO is in the final stages of applying to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for additional grant dollars through its Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program. CAN DO expects to hear a decision on the application mid-summer of 2022 and, if approved, the project is expected to resume in the fall. In the past 5 years, CAN DO has invested over $2.5 million dollars into downtown Hazleton projects.