WILKES-BARRE — Seymour Holtzman calls it the best building in town, and soon there will be more buildings on the 10-acre site.
Holtzman owns the Jewelcor Building at the corner of East Market Street and Wilkes-Barre Boulevard — the one with the 22-foot high bronze clock sculpture of a Gruen watch that has become a city landmark, of sorts.
Holtzman is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 63,000-square-foot building that will soon see an addition to the site. Holtzman and Joe Lakowski, real estate manager of the building, said an announcement will be made within the next three weeks that ground will be broken soon to construct retail space to house a pharmacy and a convenience store.
“We’re in the final stages of discussions with a couple of tenants for the site,” Holtzman, 75, said from New York City. “We’re also talking to the city to get Coal Street extended to the railroad tracks.”
A reception was held Wednesday on the building’s fourth floor for current tenants and prospective new ones. Lakowski said 20,000 square feet of space is available for rent.
The building features art of all sorts with many renderings by artist Tom Deininger of Rhode Island. But the main feature remains the Gruen sculpture that sits at the building entrance. It was created by local artist Henry Schiowitz and took a year and a half for him to complete while he was living in Pietrasanta, Italy.
Holtzman said the sculpture cost $200,000 in 1988 and weighs more than 20 tons. It was carved from Pietrasanta marble — first recognized for its beauty by Michelangelo during the 15th century.
“Some 25 years ago we built the building and put that sculpture out there and it has become a landmark, of sorts,” Holtzman said. “I thought the city could use a landmark.”
Holtzman says Wilkes-Barre is his home and always will be.
“That building is my house,” he said. “You can eat off the floor. It has all the amenities and it’s a great location.”
Holtzman and his wife reside in Kingston and they spend time in Florida, Chicago, New York and abroad.