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Douglas Jemal plans $35M development for Ridge Road in Lackawanna

The Gateway will be built at 539 Ridge Road. It will include 160 market rate apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

LACKAWANNA, N.Y. — Developer Douglas Jemal has his sights on Lackawanna where he is building a new $35 million mixed-use space.

It is on Ridge Road, where a Catholic church once stood.

"It's a gateway, in fact. That's the name for it: Gateway to Lackawanna. And it's huge to come over the bridge and see a building this beautiful sitting here," Lackawanna Mayor Annette Iafallo said.

The Gateway in Lackawanna will include 160 market rate apartments and 10,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

"This project will be a catalyst for restoring vibrancy to this proud neighborhood in our city's Second Ward," Mayor Iafallo said.

The land is where Saint Barbara's Catholic Church was on Ridge Road in Lackawanna for more than 80 years before being demolished in 2011. The Catholic diocese sold the land to the city in 2014. On Tuesday, the city approved selling the land to developer Douglas Jemal for $1. 

"I'm glad to be in Lackawanna, and I promise you we won't let you down," Jemal said.

Jemal he pledged not to take tax incentives on the project.

"Right now, we have grass here, but if we do build something here, people will come. Just like a restaurant, hotel, office building, or anything else. You have to put something to get something," Jemal said.

This is all part of the city's efforts to revitalize the Ridge Road-Center Street corridor. It includes a new splash pad and inclusive playground at Franklin Playground on Center Street, which is scheduled to open next summer.

"You have to reinvent yourself. Lackawanna was once an industrial thriving town of steel and industry, and obviously, the world has changed dramatically, but we're just putting something back that we feel will spark further development," Jemal said.

Construction on the Gateway is expected to start early next year and take up to 18 months.

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