Medical campus proposed for Kingston, Pa.

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Aug. 29--A new medical campus in the former Kingston Plaza property will bring more than 100 new jobs to the area, Kingston Municipal Administrator Paul Keating said.

Developers Anthony Trombetta and George Albert, principals of Terra Firma Land Development Group Inc., plan to invest $4 million into the site to develop the "Insignia Medical Campus," according to a prepared statement issued Thursday.

Trombetta and Albert bought the vacant Third Avenue property in June from WP Kingston Associates, according to a deed filed with Luzerne County. They paid $1.85 million for the vacant former shopping center.

The previous owners, Light Acadia, sold the property to WP Associates in 2006 for $732,000, county officials said.

Trombetta and Albert plan to convert the property from retail space to medical office space, according to the statement.

"The project will include major upgrades to the former property to provide first class space for medical-related uses, which may include both public and private practices, laboratory facilities and specialty medical services," the statement said.

Phase I includes extensive renovations of the existing 63,000 square feet of space, according to preliminary plans. Additional landscaping and a new entrance off Third Avenue is also planned, and the space should be ready for lease by January, the statement said.

Phase 2 includes construction of an additional 55,000-square-foot building, which could be built in a few years, plans indicated.

Neither Trombetta nor Albert could be reached for additional comment, but Keating said he was looking forward to the redevelopment of the property. It will bring additional wage tax revenue into the municipality, he said.

"We fully support it because it is going to revive a property that has essentially been dying for many years," he said of the proposed project.

Keating hopes the high volume of professional buildings in the area will generate additional small business development, such as restaurants and coffee houses.

The Kingston Plaza property had been in decline since 2002, when anchor tenant Price Chopper moved out. The New York-based grocer opened a superstore in the West Side Mall, Edwardsville, and decided to keep paying rent instead of subletting the space.

The matter wound up in litigation when the other tenants sued, and Price Chopper officials finally decided in 2006 not to renew the lease. At that point, only a handful of tenants remained.

The lawsuit remains unresolved today, said attorney Bill Vinsko, who represents the adjoining business owners.

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