The Downtown Hazleton Overlay District
Historically, Downtown Hazleton was a compact commercial district with bustling shops, restaurants, and a variety of other business establishments that served the surrounding region. Many of the downtown’s buildings, which were built in early 20th-century, were designed for retail use to appeal to shoppers who walked the city’s streets, including inviting entrances, window displays, and signage that drew pedestrians off the city’s street and into the building interiors.
Due to changing economic conditions, many of the core downtown’s buildings no longer serve their intended retail purpose and have been vacated or adapted for office space or other institutional uses that no longer need to be as inviting to the pedestrian, particularly along Broad Street. Others suffer from years of deferred maintenance, while others have been demolished. This has left the commercial core with many empty buildings in need of adaptive reuse and renovation, and vacant lots that deter pedestrian activity within the downtown and discourage investment. A lack of standards and guidelines has also resulted in lack of a unified streetscape, with many types of awnings, signs, and materials applied to building facades.
Read more: Downtown Overlay District Review