Major Change Coming to Downtown Wyalusing
Wyalusing Hotel Annex Will Have 24 Rooms
By David Keeler
An empty former market near the corner of Wyalusing’s Main Street and Taylor Avenue will soon be razed and replaced with an attractive 24-room annex to the Wyalusing Hotel.
Louis Zecca of Weston Solutions and Chris Woodruff, owner of the Wyalusing Hotel, confirmed that they have teamed up to make the project a reality. Weston Solutions will build the hotel and then lease it to Woodruff.
The new building, which will not be physically connected to the existing hotel, will be located where the Wyalusing Country Market, formerly Honchell’s Market, is currently located. Preliminary demolition work at the former market building, including asbestos abatement, is currently underway. The building is expected to come down early next week.
The two-story, 8,500 sq. ft. complex will include 32 parking spaces, an elevator, laundry room and breakfast area.
Zecca said the construction process will involve about 10 jobs and Woodruff said the completed hotel will create four jobs.
“We envision a revitalized Main Street,” Woodruff said of the new hotel, which will be called the Wyalusing Hotel Annex.
Zecca said the new complex will be designed to fit in with Wyalusing’s period architecture but not attempt to copy what’s already here. “We’d never be able to come close to doing that,” Zecca said, adding that Wyalusing’s downtown and especially the Wyalusing Hotel are among the best preserved late 19th century buildings in the nation.
The new building was designed by John W. Lister Architects of West Chester, PA.
Woodruff said the new hotel’s main entrance will face an alleyway near where the former market’s entrance is located. He said the alleyway will be widened somewhat and a small courtyard constructed near the entrance.
Zecca said Weston Solutions is attempting to hire as many local subcontractors as possible.
Woodruff and his wife, Jeannie, purchased the Wyalusing Hotel from Terry and Barb Keeney in 1999. The Keeneys tastefully restored the hotel building, remodeled and expanded the bar and brought the dining room back to life to the point where it became one of the region’s most popular eateries.
The original brick section of the Wyalusing Hotel was built in 1875 by J. Morgan Brown. The newer section, with its riverboat-inspired porches, was built in 1894, also by Brown. The hotel has 11 rooms available for guests. The influx of workers associated with the natural gas boom prompted the construction of the new hotel, which marks the first major expansion of the hotel’s accommodations since Brown built it.
Zecca and Woodruff have attended meetings of the Wyalusing Borough Council to keep council abreast of their plans. “Everyone has been great to work with,” Zecca said, adding that Peoples State Bank is providing funding for the project.
“Everyone seems to be as excited and optimistic about this as we are,” Woodruff said.
The market building was constructed in the late 1940’s by Bruce Dibble. He was later joined by his brother, Bob, and eventually Mick Honchell. The business was known as Dibble’s Market for many years until it was sold to Honchell and the name changed to Honchell’s IGA. In its heyday, the popular market was the hub of Wyalusing’s downtown business section. (A 1950’s era photo of Bruce, Bob and Bruce’s son Richard is featured in this week’s The Way We Were column on page nine).
Construction of the hotel annex is expected to be completed in mid April. Zecca and Woodruff said they plan to hold grand opening celebration to officially open the hotel.
Although construction has not yet started, Woodruff said he’s already taking room reservations for the new complex. To book a room, call 570-746-1204.