West Hazleton Could Drop Financially Distressed Status By 2014

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

West Hazleton could shed its financially distressed status under Act 47 in early 2014, its recovery plan coordinator said.

While a pair of councilmen say the borough has made strides improving its finances, they caution that challenges await as the borough will be strapped with $250,000 payments for the next four to five years for paying debt that accumulated under previous administrations.

“We did a fantastic job,” Councilman James “Bucky” Kulaga said of the borough’s financial turnaround. “But we’re not out of the woods, yet.”

Joe Boyle of Pennsylvania Economy League – the borough’s recovery plan coordinator – believes West Hazleton will join a half-dozen other Pennsylvania communities that have worked their way out of Act 47.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/west-hazleton-could-drop-financially-distressed-status-by-2014-1.1564488

Company Bringing 95 Jobs To Hazleton Area

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania h...

English: Map of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania highlighting Hazle Township (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HAZLE TWP. —More than 250 jobs, including 95 newly created ones, will be coming to southern Luzerne County over the next three years as a packaging firm moves into an under-construction facility in the Humboldt Industrial Park next year.

Tech Packaging Inc., a contract packaging firm based in Jacksonville, Fla., announced Wednesday it is constructing a 223,200-square-foot facility with the aim of opening in the spring.

As heavy machinery readied the lot off Oak Ridge Road, elected officials, economic development leaders and others welcomed Bob Janes, the company’s president.

As guests — including state Sen. John Yudichak, state Rep. Tarah Toohil and Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce chief Donna Palermo — listened to speeches and made some of their own, the roar of the bulldozers and rollers echoed in the background.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/717635/Company-bringing-95-jobs-to-Hazleton-area

Condo Project Intended To Give Lift To Pittston

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PITTSTON, PA — Shovels moved the first dirt Thursday for a 30-unit residential project along the Susquehanna River bank that most people agreed has been a decade-long labor of love.

The Riverfront Condominium, a residential building that for the past 10 years existed only on paper and in the imaginations of city officials and architects, promises to be the crowned star of Pittston, arguably the Wyoming Valley, it backers say.

“This is a long time coming,” Joe Chacke, Pittston Redevelopment Authority’s executive director, said.

The project’s original engineer, Alex Belavitz, whose firm is still the condominium’s official engineer after all these years, said public/private partnerships always bring obstacles. The $9 million construction uses $4 million in state grants — $1.5 million from a gaming tax grant and $2.5 million assigned by Gov. Tom Corbett.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news//519678/Condo-project-intended-to-give-lift-to-Pittston

Highlands At Archbald Already Benefiting Borough

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly two years after the start of construction, a $50 million plan to convert 500 acres into homes in Archbald is already paying off for the borough.

“The increased tax base is the reason we don’t have to raise taxes,” said council President Joe Simon, referring to the 2013 budget.

As the development grows, the tax rate will remain stable, he said, explaining that he anticipates an increase in the borough tax base due to the added homes.

“Once we get some tenants in there, Archbald will be in good shape in the coming years,” he said.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/highlands-at-archbald-already-benefiting-borough-1.1411253

Businesses On Clarks Summit’s State Street Alive, And Booming Again

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CLARKS SUMMIT – Barry Kaplan still remembers walking down State Street several years ago, stunned at the number of vacant shops on what he calls the borough’s “gatekeeper.”

“I was shocked,” said Mr. Kaplan, one of the owners of Everything Natural, an organic food and natural products store located on State Street for 28 years. “I had never seen anything like it. It just wasn’t a good time for businesses.”

Now when he walks the street, Mr. Kaplan, who also serves as the president of the Abington Business & Professional Association, said he sees packed shops, windows covered in white lettering, and, most important, no vacant stores.

“This is this best business has been on this street in a long, long time,” Mr. Kaplan said. “The atmosphere … everything … it’s back.”

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/businesses-on-state-street-alive-and-booming-again-1.1377925

Resort Plans Big Poconos Water Park

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Monroe County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A resort developer has its eyes on the Poconos, planning what could be the biggest project in the region’s history – a combination indoor water park, convention center and hotel.

The Wisconsin-based Kalahari Resorts is eying the site of the historic Inn at Pocono Manor for the project.

The company operates similar facilities in Sandusky, Ohio, and Wisconsin Dells, Wis., both major resort destinations. The proposal for Tobyhanna Township is massive. At a meeting with municipal officials in July, Kalahari officials said the project could include a 300,000-square-foot water park, a convention center and could employ as many as 1,500 employees.

The project is in its early stages. The company has not submitted specific plans to local officials or acquired any property or permits. Officials at Kalahari have declined to comment beyond a prepared statement about their excitement over the project. But the wheels are in motion.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/resort-plans-big-poconos-water-park-1.1360093

Mericle Plans To Develop 1,700 Acres Of Commercial Property

A massive development of commercial real estate is under way in Luzerne and Lackawanna counties that will open up approximately 15 million square feet of space and the opportunity to create or retain thousands of new jobs in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services plans to prepare more than 90 sites and build dozens of speculative commercial buildings on about 1,700 acres it owns in 10 business parks in the two counties, Mericle spokesman Jim Cummings said Thursday.

Mr. Cummings said the investment, which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, is part of a new initiative called “Ready to Go” that will market the prepared sites for possible manufacturing, distribution, office and medical jobs. The project represents about a decade of work, he said.

The sites range from 1.15 acres to 125 acres and can accommodate companies needing buildings from less than 5,000 square feet to more than 1.4 million square feet. Filling the space will depend on the economy, Mr. Cummings said.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/mericle-plans-to-develop-1-700-acres-of-commercial-property-1.1353815