Developer James DePetris, CEO since 1995 of Legend Properties Inc. Commercial Real Estate of Plymouth Meeting
affiliated with DEPG Development, spoke in eager anticipation of breaking ground in May of 2017 for the Smithfield
Gateway retail and upscale residence hub on Route 209.
He spoke before the start of a “thank you” gala even Feb. 25 at desak Restaurant on Route 611 in Swiftwater for all
involved who made his projects possible. By the end of the event, it also sounded like a vote of confidence from the local
dignitaries in attendance.
DePetris said the open land on the opposite side of Route 209 still awaits a final closing for that project.
In the meantime, DePetris said he still is handling paperwork approvals with Pennsylvania Department of
Transportation and the state Department of Environmental Protection, much of it involving right of ways and
stormwater runoff plans. He said engineering design costs would amount to about $7 million and he has the monetary
arm of Northeast Financial among others behind it. DePetris said he’s still foraging for state grant money.
“We’re working closely with Chuck Leonard and Michele Bisbing,” said DePetris of the top executives of the Pocono
Mountains Economic Development Corp. headquartered in Tobyhanna to help get state financial support for what he said “will be a first class development.”
“I believe it’s an advantage (having this development) because when you create the infrastructure to mitigate impacts, it will benefit everybody,” said PMEDC
Executive Director Leonard, who added that the concept of developing the 81acre
Mosier’s Dairy tract for Smithfield Gateway dated back 20 years.
First comes building the retail component DePetris said, which includes bringing in a big box store to anchor it and building the revenue from it to attract a high
end apartments developer. “He would see the value of brining that part to focus,” said DePetris of the developer. “The (Smithfield Township) Planning Board
was very concerned about that.”
DePetris said the approvals were even tougher for his projects in New Jersey.
“Retail is the driving factor,” he said of this, like many other projects. “And there are businesses that expressed good interest (for this project).”
Most of the people DePetris wanted to thank came to the gala to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and conviviality, including Charlie Kirkwood, owner of Shawnee
Inn and Golf Resort, who agreed to the $8 million handoff of the Mosier’s Farm property he had owned to DePetris.
Kirkwood said he was impressed in the property sale talks with the DePetris family, who was present in numbers at the gala event. He was especially impressed
that DePertris had his dad, who is 96, in on their discussions.
“I think this is very good for our county and particularly gratifying to an individual guy who cares about the people here,” Kirkwod said. “I’m happy to be a part
State Rep. Rosemary Brown, whose 189th district includes the Smithfield Gateway development, told the gathering Smithfield Gateway is the “anchor project
of the district” for creating jobs and enhancing business and revenue. “It’s a start to economic development in the area and it desperately needs it,” Brown said.
Pocono Mountains Visitor Bureau President and CEO Carl Wilgus said the hub “will provide support for visitors” coming to the area and the investment will
encourage other projects to follow.
“It’s jobs and when you do it right with an aesthetic look and decorative things, it enhances development,” said state Sen. Mario Scavello.
DePetris also thanked the Farda family, whose business partnership with him led to the next proposed venture on the Route 611 corridor for a Pocono Medical
Center West building. He said retail and upscale residential also will be part of that parcel as well and also expects a 2017 groundbreaking there.
There’s also Dingmans Plaza, a hub farther north along the Route 739 corridor in Dingmans Ferry in the works that he said could include a medical building.
It will follow the development DePetris already completed two years ago on both sides of Route 611 in Bartonsville. On one side of the road is Bartonsville
Square that includes a PMC healthcare building, Hampton Inn Suites and Dick’s Sporting Goods among the high profile sites on one side that was four years of
essential work. On the other side is and Bartonsville Plaza that includes a Sonic and other eateries and a PMC Immediate Care center among the retail
businesses perched on the opposite side that took two years to complete.
DePetris first came to the area 14 years ago, which he pointed out to the gathering included surviving a recession that would buckle the knees of most
developers. “I want to thank God for the faith I vowed to him,” he told the gathering.
But Smithfield Gateway took shape after revision upon revision from dozens of meetings with Smithfield Township boards, particularly the Planning Board.
“As we moved forward, the synergy improved,” he said.