Gene and Jessica Cosklo would like to have businesses rent out space in the Dolphin Plaza on Route 315 in Plains Township.S. John Wilkin/the times leader
PLAINS TWP. – Gene Cosklo is a man with interests that include flying airplanes, piloting boats … and developing commercial real estate.
Twenty-five years ago, Cosklo, who lives in Fell Township, Lackawanna County, was in a different business, operating the Lobster Trap seafood restaurants in Plains Township and Dickson City. He looked around and saw opportunity.
“I just kept buying properties around me and developing them,” he said Monday by phone from Florida. “The restaurants were the catalysts to make those places work.”
By the mid-1990s he realized that running successful restaurants left little time for other pursuits, and he leased out the spaces. But he continued to add to his real estate holdings. He now owns the 315 Plaza and nearby properties, a plaza on the Scranton/Carbondale Highway and “a couple in Florida.”
In 2005, just before gambling was made legal in Pennsylvania, another opportunity along Route 315 came on the market. “This was a natural,” he said.
L.B. Smith had been a heavy-equipment dealer, and the building was mostly garage and warehouse space, with a few offices. Cosklo rechristened it Dolphin Plaza and set about converting all of it for office and retail use, a job that’s nearly finished.
Tenants include a dental supply business, insurance and accountant offices, and he’s just signed a urologist. Cosklo said the businesses aren’t necessarily drawn by the proximity to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, but the increased traffic may be helping attract new tenants.
“We have a Chinese buffet looking at it,” he said, and a retail store. “It’s just so easy to find,” with a location between the Woodlands Inn & Resort and the casino.
There’s 30,000 square feet in all, about 60 percent of it leased, Cosklo said, “and about 20 percent is really close.” The property includes 4 acres to the rear of the current buildings, where he said more offices or a hotel could be built.
Running the business is now a family affair, with a son managing the local plaza and a daughter helping out between school terms.
Why the “Dolphin” name? Cosklo had a business called Dolphin Sales that was located in a strip near the 315 Plaza, in space that is now a Nextel store. He moved Dolphin Sales, which deals in cars, equipment, boats and even airplanes, to the new building soon after buying it.
Dolphin Plaza was developed by Gene Cosklo, of Fell Township, and he promotes its proximity to Pennsylvania’s first casino in his advertising.
Space: 2,000-8,000 sq. ft. available
Terms: Around $12 sq. ft., triple net