Kurt Sauer will get a long-awaited birthday present next Thursday: The demolition of the Hotel Sterling.
Since Wilkes-Barre officials decided in January to bring the building down without the help of Luzerne County, the city had to start the process from scratch. That meant Sauer, the city’s director of community development, had to fill out reams of paperwork – he points to a 4-inch binder chock-full of various documents – as he worked to get approval from various state and federal agencies.
So when Brdaric Excavating finally begins work Thursday, Sauer will be a year older and a step closer to finishing the job. And the current chapter of the Sterling’s life, one filled with hopes of restoration and disappointing and expensive failures to save the historic building, will near a close.
John Brdaric, owner of Brdaric Excavating, didn’t respond to requests for an interview about the $419,000 demolition. But Sauer and Butch Frati, Wilkes-Barre’s director of operations, explained how they believe the process will unfold.