POCONO MANOR, Pa. (AP) -- A developer said he has a contract with the Pocono Manor resort to build a $1.5 billion casino complex around the historic hotel near interstates 80 and 380.
Greg Matzel, president of Matzel Development, of Oakhurst, N.J., said a big part of his plans involves getting a license for 5,000 slot machines. That would require beating out Pocono Raceway and Mount Airy Lodge, as well as several projects planned for the Lehigh Valley, for a non-racetrack casino license.
Built in 1902, Pocono Manor is currently a 250-room hotel with two golf courses around it. Matzel said his plans also include an indoor water park, a shopping center, time-share lodgings and a railroad station for service to New York City.
Matzel's slots proposal joins several others in the Lehigh Valley.
Scranton businessman, Louis DeNaples, bought the shuttered Mount Airy Lodge this year for $25 million, and Pocono Raceway President Joseph Mattioli has unveiled plans for a $300 million slots/hotel complex next to the racetrack.
Two major casino operators -- Las Vegas Sands and Isle of Capri Casinos -- also are seeking to build slots parlors in Bethlehem and Allentown.
Matzel said a well-known casino company will manage the facility if he gets the license. He said he has made arrangements with a specific company, which he declined to identify.
Robert Uguccioni, who runs the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau, cautioned that Matzel's project is one of several planning to compete for a slots license.
"There are so many transactions happening or pending that it is hard to keep track. But this is a very good proposal, not just for the Poconos but this region of Pennsylvania," Uguccioni said.
Matzel plans to build his project in Pocono and Tobyhanna townships.
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