Siniawa out as riverfront condo developer

First Posted: 3/13/2013

A name attached to the condominium project on the Pittston Riverfront since its inception in 2004 has bowed out.

Daniel Siniawa & Associates of Dickson City has sold its stake in the project to partner and contractor Rob Grimm of Grimm Construction of Waymart.

“There were some family issues and business issues and they had to remove themselves from the project,” Michael Lombardo, of the city’s Redevelopment Authority, said about Daniel Siniawa & Associates.

But things are now moving ahead in full force, Lombardo said, calling the project a “game changer.”

City permits for the project were issued last week and construction could begin as early as next month, he said.

The multi-million dollar, 4-story project will contain approximately 30 market-rate units. There are expected to be two-bedroom units ranging from 1,190 square feet to 1,500 square feet and three-bedroom units with 1,620 square feet. Lombardo said the top floor may become two or three larger, penthouse-style apartments.

The project was begun in late 2004 when Lombardo was mayor of Pittston City but was redesigned when funding sources were cut back.

Lombaro said Grimm has a proven track record in the Greater Pittston area and throughout Northeast Pennsylvania.

Grimm was one of the planners for the Hitchner Building in West Pittston that turned the former cookie factory into affordable housing units. Before that, he helped develop the former Pittston High School/Lincoln Middle School into Lincoln Heights affordable housing for the elderly.

“Rob Grimm has an outstanding track record and we’re glad he’s on board,” Lombardo said.

Not only is Grimm listed as developer, he’ll be the owner as well.

“It’s a unique circumstance and we’re certain he’ll add additional economies,” Lombardo said.

Lombardo said the condos will be the largest infusion of market-rate housing in Pittston in over 40 years. He said the last new development was the Pittston City area near the Martin L. Mattei Educational Complex.

“This will help us continue to grow the tax base,” Lombardo said. “And it will allow us to generate revenue that we’ll use to improve the neighborhoods.”

Lombardo sees the project as a jumpstart to the Neighborhood Housing Stabilization and Development Initiative.

Substandard, deteriorating and unoccupied homes and street crowding cause a tax base to decline. The neighborhood’s initiative will make improvements to combat such problems, Lombardo said. Sprucing up neighborhoods, acquiring tax sale and foreclosure properties, tax rebates, creating a housing impact team and imposing a moratorium on converting single homes to apartments are all planned.

Lombardo said, in addition to private funding, there is some state-funded financing already in place from the state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, a state grant program for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic and historical improvement projects. Also, funding was provided by the state Local Share Account, which is funded by revenues from casinos.

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