SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A multi-million dollar project in the Poconos broke ground Thursday.

Monroe County and local officials celebrated the phase one groundbreaking of the Smithfield Gateway Project and they say it’s been years in the making.

The long-awaited Smithfield Gateway Project held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday celebrating a new St. Luke’s university health network facility.

The 40,000-square-foot facility is the first of five buildings in phase one of the Smithfield Gateway Project.

“It’s a combination of relocating some of our existing services, as well as bringing new services like care now and physical therapy,” stated Don Seiple, president, of the St. Luke’s Monroe Campus.

The development project has plans to bring a blend of office spaces, upscale and senior living apartments, and retail buildings to the 120-acre site.

The land has been up for a number of other projects but has remained empty for more than 25 years.

“I think where the developer succeeds here is this is building a community center and good-paying jobs. I think that provides a lot of promise that just wasn’t seen with the other potential projects,” explained Jacob Pride, chairman of the Smithfield Township Board of Supervisors.

Pride tells us the township is excited for the new destination to be another stop for locals and those visiting.

“Ultimately, jobs like Smithfield Gateway are going to make our community safer and they’re going to expand economic development, which is going to be great for small businesses,” stated Pride.

Jim Depetris is the CEO of legend properties and the developer of the project he says this plan has been years in the making.

“We had many obstacles to get over with storm drainage, road improvements, but we just didn’t give up and we’re here,” explained Jim Depetris, CEO of Legend Properties.

The new St. Luke’s University Health Network Building is set to be completed by January 2023.

Also included in the project is adding three additional lanes and a traffic light to Route 209 behind me which they say will cost more than $12 million.