TOBYHANNA TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – A massive entertainment project is officially coming to the Poconos. In fact, developers say this is one of the largest entertainment destination projects underway in North America.
Development will happen near Kalahari Resort along Route 940 in Tobyhanna Township. With just an empty plot of land, it’s hard to envision exactly what it will look like. Developers say the project will resemble Disney Springs, only this will be called Pocono Springs.
Pocono Springs will feature Ripley’s Aquarium, a movie theater, retail space, and themed restaurants with rooftop dining.
Reach new heights with a Ferris wheel or helium ballon ride, then relax next to an outdoor fire pit or interactive water fountain.
“Retail today wants to be more experiential and entertainment based, with a lot of food. And that’s exactly what we’re doing here,” explains Bryan McFarland of Alberta Development Partners, the development company from Colordao that is leading this project.
Developers say to play into the ‘Pocono feel’, they are incorporating a five-acre public park shaded with large trees, plus walking and biking trails.
“It’s a very unique concept to the east coast,” says John Jablowski, Manager of Tobyhanna Township.
Enjoy entertainment year-round from live concerts to immersive, high-tech light shows in the grove.
McFarland adds, “in the wintertime you’ll have an ice rink. So it’s really creating all these activities that familes will enjoy to bring their kids out to.”
Local leaders say this will bring at least 2,000 construction jobs and another 1,200 permanent jobs.
“We’re all working together in partnership to make this project a reality. It creates jobs, good jobs, but it also is very respecful to our environment,” Jablowski says.
Pocono Springs is expected to attract about 5 million new tourists each year. This is a $400 million dollar project.
“This is a continuation of the redevlopment of the Poconos, I would say,” says Chuck Leonard, Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation.
Construction is set to start next year. The project will happen in phases, and phase one is expected to be complete in 2021.
Developers say a trolley will run between Pocono Springs and the nearby Pocono Manor Resort. Their goal is to eventually have the trolley run regionally.