Margaritaville could bring hundreds of jobs to the Poconos, planners predict

Written by on April 28, 2022

Margaritaville could bring hundreds of jobs to the Poconos, planners predict

By Megan Frank
April 28, 2022

A Margaritaville resort village is being developed at the former site of the Pocono Manor Hotel in Tobyhanna Township, Monroe County. (Courtesy photo)

TOBYHANNA TWP., Pa. – Forget heart-shaped tubs and champagne. A different kind of vacation spot is coming to the Poconos.  

A Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville resort village is being developed at the former site of the Pocono Manor Hotel in Tobyhanna Township, Monroe County. 

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It’s one of a string of billion-dollar projects that have helped to boost tourism in the Poconos over the last few years.

New investment in the Poconos picked up in 2005 when Great Wolf Lodge opened with an indoor water park, according to the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau. Other big resorts moved in including Camelback, Kalahari and Mt. Airy.  

Chris Barrett, president and chief executive officer of the visitors bureau, said the $1.3 billion Margaritaville project will be another economic boon for the region, and it will bring in hundreds of jobs.

“Based on the scale of the project, a lot of them will be management and middle management level good paying jobs,” said Barrett. “This is the first time they’re attempting a resort concept. This is a resort destination, so it does make a lot of sense to place it here between two very large populations in New York and Philadelphia.”

Margaritaville developers also want an Amtrak station built on-site and an old rail line from Scranton to New York City restored.  For now, Amtrak is making no promises, but officials say they’re studying the viability of it.

Loren Keim, Lehigh University professor of practice with the Goodman Center for Real Estate, said rail plans have been up in the air for years.

“I’m hesitant to say that Amtrak is going to happen because we’ve been talking about it for 40 years,” said Keim.  “So, it’s not guaranteed, however, I don’t think that’s necessary to keep Margaritaville going,” said Keim. 

The natural beauty of the Poconos and its many attractions are likely to be enough to keep people interested in driving there for a vacation, Keim said. 

“The area has about 28-30 million visitors a year.  About two thirds of those are day visitors who may stay overnight. About a third [of other visitors] may stay for a week or two,” said Keim. “It’s always been a fairly hot tourist area.”

Construction on Margaritaville Resort Village – Pocono Mountains is slated to begin next year with a projected opening date of mid-2024. 

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