A hotel, an RV camp site, bungalows, townhomes and cottages will all be part of Margaritaville Resort Village Pocono Mountains. A new Amtrak train station is also eyed for the Pennsylvania location. “You will be able to come and enjoy a ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ here in the Poconos,” says Congressman Matt Cartwright.
Margaritaville Hotels and Resorts will bring its first resort village to the Poconos by 2024 along with a new Amtrak station, a $1.3 billion project for the region, lehighvalleylive.com reported.
The company, named for singer Jimmy Buffett’s hit song, announced Monday that construction is set to start next year in Tobyhanna Township, Monroe County (Pa.), and be complete by mid-2024.
The project includes a hotel, an RV camp site, “Tiny Homes” bungalows, townhomes and 1,000 “build-to-rent” cottages in the village, lehighvalleylive.com reported. There is also a plan for an Amtrak station on the site, and the developers have offered to donate the land for the stop, officials told lehighvalleylive.com.
“It is a big, big morning … it’s something that we’ve had in the works for quite some time,” Congressman Matt Cartwright said at a news conference Monday. “Margaritaville and Jimmy Buffett — you will be able to come and enjoy a ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ here in the Poconos.”
The new plans replace the proposed Pocono Springs Entertainment Village at the site, officials said.
The project will bring more and better-paying jobs, while honoring the memory of Pocono Manor and in large measure rebuild it, Cartwright told lehighvalleylive.com.
Built in 1902 by Quakers, the landmark Pocono Manor was getting ready to close for renovation when it had a devastating fire in November 2019.
Pocono Manor reopened its golf course in May 2020.
The planned hotel will pay homage to the original Pocono Manor, with wilderness gardens, restaurants including the LandShark Bar & Grill, swimming pools, and other activities, lehighvalleylive.com reported. The townhomes will be within walking distance of the hotel.
The RV camp site will have a Margaritaville store, a fitness center, a Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant, and a 5 o’Clock Somewhere swim-up bar, lehighvalleylive.com reported. Plans include attractions like LandShark Tube Slide Runs and a License to Chill Ice Pond, with an ice bar and coffee and hot chocolate stand.
The timeline for the Amtrak stop will depend on the results of the ridership study underway, lehighvalleylive.com reported. Last July, the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority signed a deal with Amtrak to look at passenger rail between Scranton and New York City. The proposed route would have stops in East Stroudsburg, Mount Pocono and Tobyhanna on the way to Scranton.
“As the ultimate family destination for over eight decades, the natural beauty of the Pocono Mountains has offered a retreat for those in search of fun, relaxation, and a backdrop of lakes and mountains,” said Jim Wiseman, president of development at Margaritaville. “In Margaritaville, we are known for our sense of escapism and look forward to bringing our vacation lifestyle to the area with the first Margaritaville Resort Village.”
The Margaritaville company has 25 lodging locations, including a resort with restaurants in Times Square in New York, and restaurants, including a campus on the beach in Atlantic City, lehighvalleylive.com reported. It also has 20 additional projects in the works, including themed retirement communities announced this week planned for Austin, Houston and Dallas.
Officials spoke to lehighvalleylive.com about how Great Wolf Lodge, Camelback Resort, Kalahari and Mount Airy Casino Resort started the momentum of making the Poconos a premiere vacation destination in the tri-state area.
“This transformation of Pocono Manor into a Margaritaville resort village propels us toward a goal of bringing more people to the Poconos for work and play,” Cartwright said. “Imagine what a landscape where people are able get here by train from New York, New Jersey and even Scranton would be like … Now is the time to connect the Poconos to New York City and New Jersey and the larger world by train.”
Chris Barrett, of the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau, said the past few decades have shown how the Poconos has reinvented itself, leading to 30 million visitors each year.
“This attraction is going to put us on the map in a major way,” he said.