|By Chris Parker, The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa.|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Sep. 15, 2004 - A New Jersey company plans to build a $750 million luxury residential resort on 550 acres owned by Kovatch Corp. along Route 54 in Nesquehoning.
PMP Enterprises LLC of South River, N.J., announced Tuesday it wants to build a "premier, residential-resort style community."
The resort would include a mixture of single-family homes and apartments or condominiums, an 18-hole championship golf course, a luxury hotel and conference center, a first-class indoor-outdoor equestrian center and an "old-fashioned bed and breakfast," a conceptual site plans shows.
The company's design team will present plans to the borough Planning Commission at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
The proposed site is a parcel, zoned commercial, that stretches 11/2 miles from Routes 209 and 54 at the west end of town, said Ric Reaman, vice president of Kovatch Corp., which owns the property.
The site begins immediately behind Kovatch Enterprises along Nesquehoning Creek. The plans also show a nine-hole short course, a short-game area and practice range surrounding the hotel complex.
A road would be built through the middle of the project from Route 54 to the hotel.
The residential area would be at the site's western edge.
PMP Enterprises Managing Director Francis J. Gendlek said the company has worked with Kovatch for about eight weeks to seal the partnership.
"We're really excited about this," Reaman said.
The resort, he said, will "create jobs and stimulate economic growth in the borough of Nesquehoning and the whole of Carbon County."
Gendlek said the project could cost up to $750 million over 10 years and bring as many as 1,000 jobs in building the resort, then staffing it.
"I hope it will create 1,000 jobs if not more," Gendlek said. "I think this is a fantastic draw for industry, which would bring more jobs into the area.
"Most of this at the moment is conjecture until the borough approves it."
Gendlek said the golf course will cost $6.5 million to build. The average course, Gendlek said, costs about half that.
"It makes sense," he said, "that if you're going to do something with the land, then do something nice. Whatever we do will be first-class."
Gendlek said the building will be done in phases, starting with the housing.
He said this is the first project of this scope for PMP Enterprises, which filed a Certificate of Organization with the state Department of State on Sept. 9, 2002.
Gendlek said he's been in the construction field for 38 years and is confident in his building team, which includes landscape architects, a golf course architect and consultants working on the equestrian facility.
"It's something Pennsylvania doesn't have," Gendlek said. "Most people I know travel to New Jersey to horse shows."
"If it all works out, this will be a great advantage for our town," said Borough Council President Donato DeMarco.
The company has yet to file papers with the Carbon County Office of Planning and Development.
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