A Mall with a Rich History
The Marketplace at Steamtown, originally known as The Mall at Steamtown, is a shopping mall located at 300 Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Conceived in the mid-1980s as the centerpiece of downtown revitalization, the mall was completed in 1993 and opened to national fanfare.
It stands on the site of the former Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad yard, which was abandoned in the late 1970s. The mall has been featured in the popular NBC sitcom The Office, set in Scranton.
In its heyday, the mall boasted 70 stores and services, with anchor tenants including Boscov’s, Montgomery Ward, and The Globe Store. Today, the mall offers a unique blend of shopping, dining, entertainment, and educational opportunities.
Timeline of Major Events
|The mall at Steamtown opens
|The Bon-Ton moves in
|Steamtown Mall Partners takes over management
|The Bon-Ton closes, the mall goes into foreclosure
|Mall was auctioned off and purchased by John Basalyga
|Rebranded as The Marketplace at Steamtown
|Scranton Public Market opens
|Geisinger announces Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center
|Geisinger Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Scranton opens
|Civil War Museum moves in
A New Beginning: The Marketplace at Steamtown
In 2016, the mall was renamed “The Marketplace at Steamtown” under the ownership of John Basalyga. Basalyga invested in the property, transforming it into a modern, mixed-use center. In addition, one of the former anchor stores was converted into a Luzerne County Community College satellite campus.
New additions included a movie theater, an indoor playground, and the Scranton Public Market. The public market, which opened in late 2017, features local eateries and craft sellers from the region.
Diversifying with Medical Facilities
The Marketplace continued to evolve, adding medical facilities to its offerings. In October 2019, Geisinger announced plans to build an orthopedic and sports medicine center in the mall. The new facility occupies two floors and fills the space left by the former anchor store Bon-Ton.
Geisinger Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Scranton opened its doors in February 2022, offering comprehensive services for bone, muscle, and joint conditions. In addition, the facility provides expanded orthopedic urgent care, making it more convenient for patients to access care.
Preserving History: Civil War Museum Finds a New Home
In February 2023, Scranton’s Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library found a new home inside the Marketplace at Steamtown.
Previously located in the basement of Scranton’s City Hall, the museum now resides on the second floor near the entrance of Crunch Fitness. This move enhances the museum’s visibility and makes it more accessible to visitors.
Memorable Moments in Popular Culture
The Marketplace at Steamtown has had its moments in the spotlight, particularly in popular culture. For example, the mall was featured several times on the hit NBC sitcom “The Office,” which was set in Scranton. This connection to the beloved television show has attracted fans from all over the country to visit and take photos at the mall.
In addition, the mall’s opening in 1993 was nationally televised on CNN and attended by then-Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey, Sr. This high-profile event helped to solidify the Marketplace at Steamtown’s role as a central player in downtown Scranton’s revitalization efforts.
These moments in popular culture have contributed to the enduring appeal and nostalgia of the Marketplace at Steamtown as it continues to evolve and serve the Scranton community.
From a Struggling Shopping Mall to a Community Space
The Marketplace at Steamtown has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years. The mall faced many setbacks in the 2010s, including high vacancy rates, store closures, and a foreclosure in 2014. In addition, many businesses, such as American Eagle, The Bon-Ton, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Hollister, closed their doors, leaving the mall’s future uncertain.
However, the mall’s resilience and adaptability have been critical to its transformation. After the auction in 2015, the new owner, John Basalyga, steered the mall in a different direction, focusing on creating a community space rather than just a shopping center. The renaming of the mall to “The Marketplace at Steamtown” in 2016 signaled a new beginning, and a series of changes followed.
The Marketplace now houses a mix of retail, education, healthcare, and recreational facilities. In addition, a Luzerne County Community College satellite campus has been established, along with a movie theater and an indoor playground. The Scranton Public Market, which opened in late 2017, also offers a space for local vendors to showcase their products, strengthening ties within the community.
The Marketplace at Steamtown has come a long way since its inception as a shopping mall in the 1990s. Through its owners’ dedication and the local community’s support, it has evolved into a diverse and thriving mixed-use space.
With a focus on education, health, and preserving history, the Marketplace at Steamtown continues to play a vital role in revitalizing downtown, Scranton.