By Beth Brelje Pocono Record Writer June 09, 2011
New efforts to sell the Pike County Business Park in Blooming Grove Township are aimed at bringing more jobs to the county. The Pike County Business Development Corporation signed a nine-month contract with Davis R. Chant Realty in March to market the 613-acre property to be sold as a single parcel or as 36 individual lots ranging from three to 35 acres. The land, which currently has no businesses, is being offered at $20,000 an acre. The business park, on Route 434, is near the Route 6 intersection across from the entrance to the private community of Camelot Forest. It is 3.5 miles from Interstate 84 and five minutes from the Lords Valley exit. The land has a sewage treatment facility with limited capacity. More capacity could be added, Davis Chant said. “You can drive from the business park to any area in Orange County, N.Y., in about an hour,” Chant said. “Orange County has 23 business parks. There are companies there looking to expand outside Orange County.” Some of the companies have inquired about the Pike Business Park, Chant said. Chant will soon show the land to a group from the Hudson Valley that is interested in buying parcels. After showing the business park, he will give them a tour of Hemlock Farms, a gated community with homes ranging from $150,000 to more than $1 million, Chant said. He is pushing the idea of living five minutes away from work. A short commute is a luxury many Pike County residents dream of. “In Pike, over 60 percent of the workforce commutes out of the county, giving up a huge chunk of their life. This demonstrates a need for more local job opportunities,” said Rachel Hendricks, deputy director for the Pike Economic Development Authority. This commuting population is one obstacle the authority faces when courting new businesses. When workers leave the state for work, the authority does not know what kind of jobs they commute to. “Demonstrating a skilled labor force can be a challenge,” Hendricks said. The authority is exploring the possibility of doing a study that will define the skill sets of Pike County commuters. The Pike County Business Development Corporation board of directors bought the land for the business park in 1997 and completed sewage and road improvements in 2003. It had a contract to sell the entire business park to developer John Herman in 2008. Herman wanted to swap the existing site for a portion of state game lands between I-84 and the Pike County concrete quarry off Route 739. The proposal had to meet approvals from federal and state government agencies to proceed. After a long process, the contract to buy the land expired, Hendricks said. The corporation negotiated with Herman but did not reach an agreement to extend it. That is why the business park is again on the market.