Developers have proposed to construct a $350m Pocono Springs Entertainment Village featuring a $100m Ripley’s Aquarium, helium balloon rides, cinema and themed restaurants in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania.
Alberta Development Partners and JEMB Realty are leading the public-private partnership with local and state government officials on board with the project. The Pocono Springs Entertainment Village will be located adjacent to the Kalahari Resort in Tobyhanna Township.
The plans include an 8,300sqm Ripley’s Aquarium, however a spokesperson for Ripley’s told the Morning Call that while discussions are ongoing, no deal has been agreed while the company conducts a feasibility study.
The destination will also include live entertainment venues, bike and hiking trails, a park and hourly light and music shows at a venue called the Moment Factory.
The first part of the project will cover about 30 hectares with nearly 55,000sqm of retail and leisure anchors. The total project will have about 130,000sqm of leasable space on about 70 hectares.
The developers believe the entertainment destination could attract five million visitors annually, having a $400m annual state-wide economic impact. The first part of the project is set to open in 2021.
“We’re creating a village atmosphere that has national destination entertainment venues — everything from aquariums to entertainment, dining, shopping, movie theatres,” said Tobyhanna Township manager John Jablowski.
“There are other projects out there that are already completed, but right now underway, this will be one of the largest in North America,” he added.