Pocono Resort Plan Moves Forward - Wednesday 28th of December 2005
POCONO MANOR, Pennsylvania – A world-class resort and casinoin the Poconos is one step closer to reality with today's announcement thatMatzel Development has officially closed on the Pocono Manor property. At anews conference today at Pocono Manor, Greg Matzel, President of MatzelDevelopment, a New Jersey and Pennsylvania-based real estate developmentcompany, announced the official acquisition of the Pocono Manor Inn & GolfResort. Matzel Development finalized the purchase of the resort from theIreland family, which has owned and operated the property since the 1960s.
Matzel also announced that concurrent with his announcement of theacquisition, his team today officially submitted its Category Two slot machinelicense application with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in Harrisburg.The board-imposed deadline is December 28.
"Pocono Manor and this entire region have been a favored vacationdestination for decades, and I'm pleased to be the next in line to continuesuch a great tradition," said Matzel. "I'm excited about writing the nextchapter in this magnificent resort's history by not only continuing theIreland family's efforts to restoring this magnificent Inn and its existingamenities to its prior luster, but also by developing a world-class vacationdestination that will add to the vibrancy of the region and make anunprecedented positive economic impact."
Matzel was joined at the conference by Pocono Mountains Visitors BureauExecutive Director, Bob Uguccioni. "This is one of the most exciting projectsto ever come to the Pocono Mountains. We're very excited and offer our fullsupport and cooperation to the new owners of Pocono Manor," said Uguccioni.
Matzel added that after consultation with his team of architects andengineers the resort and casino building can accommodate the 750 rooms andall other amenities at a height that is 20-percent shorter than the originallyestimated 300 feet. At a maximum of 234 feet, the resort and casino would bebuilt with materials that complement the region's natural beauty. Matzel alsopointed out that the new maximum height of 234 feet is lower then most of thecell towers that already exist in the area.
"I appreciate the concerns expressed by some Tobyhanna Township residentsregarding the height of the facility," said Matzel. "That's why I asked myteam to take another look at the numbers, and I am pleased that we were ableto find a way to reduce the height by more than 20 percent to reflect theconcerns of the local residents while still delivering a superior experiencefor our guests. I imagine there are probably some who wish we were reducing itby 80 percent. Based on the emails and feedback that I have received, mostpeople understand that if you want to create a dynamic destination that willinject millions of dollars into the local and state economy along withthousands of new jobs throughout the region, you need to provide a certainlevel of service that guests are expecting. This is an important compromiseand I think we have achieved the right balance with this reduction in height.It is a reasonable compromise to accomplish the goals of all those involvedand the region at large."
During a news conference at the manor, Matzel shared concept plans anddrawings of his proposed $1.2 billion resort and casino to be developed on thegrounds of Pocono Manor Inn & Golf Resort. The artist renderings depict theconceptual site plan, an aerial rendering of the new resort complex,conceptual renderings of the atrium, casino, pool and grotto, retail and villavillage, golf villas, arrival port cochere and freestanding marquee sign.Plans for the new resort and casino are part of a 10-year, $3 billiondevelopment project on Pocono Manor's 3,000 acres in Tobyhanna and PoconoTownships and the Borough of Mt. Pocono.
"The natural beauty of the landscape in the Pocono Mountains is part ofwhat makes the region such a vacation paradise during all seasons of theyear," said Matzel. "As you can see in the artist renderings, we are workingto build a first-class destination resort that not only meets the modern needsand expectations of today's travelers, but also complements the existingarchitectural features and landscape of Pocono Manor."
Today's announcement comes just one month after Matzel unveiled his all-star team of partners and consultants led by Dennis Gomes. Gomes brings 35years of experience in the gaming industry, including stints as president ofboth the Tropicana Casino & Resort and Trump Taj Mahal Hotel & Casino inAtlantic City and president of the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas,among other senior-level posts at well-known resorts and casinos. At theTropicana, Gomes is credited with the vision for creating The Quarter theTrop's highly acclaimed, $285 million retail, dining and entertainmentcomplex.
Matzel's plans for a new resort and casino initially include a 1 millionsquare-foot hotel and casino complex housing 750 rooms and a 100,000-square-foot casino consisting of up to 5,000 slots as well as a full-service spa, two18-hole championship golf courses, a 17-acre lake, indoor and outdoor poolsand grotto, 60,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, an 1,800-seattheater, a 100,000-square-foot village green, a 300,000-square-foot retailvillage, a tennis center, equestrian facility, shooting ranges, miles ofwooded trails, a large selection of dining options and an inter-resort gondolatransit system.
The new resort, combined with the existing manor, will create more than3,300 jobs, making it the largest private employer in the region, 2nd only tothe Tobyhanna Army Depot. It is estimated that an additional 1,600 jobs willbe created outside of the resort in industries that provide goods and servicesto the resort complex.
Bringing such a large-scale project to the region has significant taxbenefits for local municipalities, school districts and the Commonwealth.Matzel Development engaged Bethlehem, Pa.-based Urban Research & DevelopmentCorporation to conduct an economic benefit study outlining the projected taxrevenues to be realized by Tobyhanna Township, Mt. Pocono School District,Monroe County, Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau and the Commonwealth ofPennsylvania. Based upon preliminary gaming revenue projections as well asland-value real estate taxes at Pocono Manor, Tobyhanna Township would receiveannual tax revenues of more than $5.66 million. Mt. Pocono School Districtwould receive more than $16.1 million in annual real estate taxes. MonroeCounty would receive annual tax revenues of over $8.1 million. TheCommonwealth of Pennsylvania would receive more than $115.6 million fromgaming revenues. It is also estimated that The Pocono Mountains VacationBureau would receive approximately $800,000 annually from the newly created 3percent hotel room tax.
Pocono Manor Inn & Golf Resort dwells on approximately 3,000 acres (5.5square miles) in Tobyhanna and Pocono Townships as well as the Borough of Mt.Pocono. Residing in its own zip code, the resort consists of a nine-story,257-room inn and conference center, a golf facility with two 18-hole courses,an equestrian facility, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, shooting ranges andmiles of trails used for hiking, cross country skiing, horseback riding andsnowmobiling.
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