WILKES-BARRE – The 107-year-old Irem Temple building, a historic landmark on North Franklin Street, once was Wilkes-Barre‘s primary public performance venue.
Today, the once-grand building has fallen into disrepair and has no heat, lights or electricity. But city and chamber officials are trying to save it.
During a tour by flashlight Wednesday, Ross Macarty, vice president of community development, real estate and special projects for the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry, showed that water damage has taken a toll on the deteriorating building and thieves have stolen copper and brass inside over the past two months.
The Greater Wilkes-Barre Development Corp., an arm of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry, bought the building in 2005 for $992,000, using a combination of federal, state and chamber funds. The chamber and city are seeking $2.4 million in state gaming funds to bring the building up to code and return it to use.