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State funds may pump life into medical campus project

Work on Insignia Medical Campus has been dormant for nearly six months.

The sign for Insignia Medical Campus on Third Avenue in Kingston.

Don Carey/The Times Leader

The former Price Chopper store at the Insignia Medical Campus on Third Avenue in Kingston.

Don Carey/The Times Leader

KINGSTON – Nearly six months after it was scheduled to open, the $4 million Insignia Medical Campus is without doors, windows and tenants.

The buildings in the former Kingston Plaza have been gutted and exterior work also has been done. They are wide open with no sign of workers, equipment or materials on site. Discarded duct work was piled in front of the building that was formerly a Price Chopper supermarket.

George Albert and Anthony Trombetta, principals in the developer Terra Firma Land Development Group, could not be reached for comment Friday.

But Kingston administrator Paul Keating said he spoke with the developer last month about the status of money coming from the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

The project will receive approximately $275,000 of a $1.4 million award from the local share of gambling funds from the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Keating said.

Having just received the contract from the state this week, Keating said he plans to notify Terra Firma officials and “to get together with them to get this rolling.”

The developer, he added, was “waiting for this funding to come in” to kick off the remaining work.

The campus’ share will be used to reconfigure the parking lot and exterior improvements. The bulk of the award will be used for the paving of Third Avenue from Pierce Street to Rutter Avenue as well as the paving of a park-and-ride lot. Work covered by the award will be put out for bid because it involved public funds, Keating said.

Last September when the campus was announced, Albert said it would be built with private funds.

Terra Firma, with offices in Cross Creek Pointe , Plains Township, purchased the property in June 2008 for $1.85 million and had no specific plan in mind for it. But Albert said Terra Firma’s research determined there was a strong interest in developing it for medical use. The 64,000 square feet of space would contain public and private practices, laboratories and specialty medical services and provide an estimated 100 jobs.

A second phase of development would include the construction of an additional 60,000 square feet of space in the next two or three years.

In its announcement last year, Terra Firma made reference to its townhouse development, Insignia Courtyards in Jenkins Township, as an example of its taking on “challenging blight removal project.”

Trombetta is also associated with computer supply and service company, Intellacom, also located at Cross Creek Pointe. The company’s dealings with the Pittston Area School District were among documents taken by federal investigators as part of a public corruption probe.

The district’s superintendent, Ross Scarantino, agreed to guilty Wednesday to a charge he accepted $5,000 in cash in return for support given to a contractor seeking work with the district.

The charge did not list the contractor or the company associated with the payment.

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