WILKES-BARRE TWP. – The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority on Wednesday discussed the proposed addition to the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza – a soon-to-be-built 9,000-square-foot white box that will house a restaurant or retail stores, although just what has not been decided.
We're not ruling anything out, said board Chairwoman Donna Cupinski.
Brent Berger, president/CEO of Quad3 Group, the authority's architectural and engineering consultant, and Sam Scarantino, director of operations at Quad3, gave a presentation to the board that detailed the process and a timeline.
Scarantino said that if all goes well – including bore hole drilling to ensure the soil is safe for construction – the project report will be ready for board approval in December and construction could begin in June. He said it will take six to 10 months to build the addition that will be located between the west and east gates of the 13-year-old arena.
The estimated cost, according to Scarantino, is in the $7.5 million range.
Rebecca Bonnevier, arena general manager, said the preferred use for the addition would be for a restaurant, but she said retail space is also a consideration.
We hope to be able to provide a place for our customers to dine before or after events here at the arena, she said.
Scarantino said the first step is to drill four bore holes about 30 feet deep. Geo-Science Engineering, the firm that did the original bore hole drilling before the arena's construction, will do the job at a cost not to exceed $5,500.
The 8,000-seat arena was built at a cost of nearly $39 million and is the home of the American Hockey League's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Several restaurants populate the area near the arena, such as chains Chili's, Outback Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Red Robin and Smokey Bones and local favorites Grotto Pizza, Lucky's Sports Bar and Arena Bar and Grill.
The expansion would complement Stix sports bar located within the arena, which is among the $2 million in improvements made since 2008, including paving, acoustic and sound system enhancements and new concert and stage equipment.
The authority has refinanced approximately $8.1 million in bonds for capital improvements; $1.3 million was spent on a state-of-the-art scoreboard that hangs over center ice.
The refinancing also paid for the nearly $290,000 in floor-to-ceiling upgrades for the 32 luxury suites. They were gutted and redone with hardwood flooring, granite countertops, new cabinetry, appliances and flat-screen TVs.
The Luzerne County Convention Center Authority will next meet on Dec. 12 at noon at the arena.