Two locations in Northumberland County have been identified as possible ideal locations for lodging as the result of a $20,000 hotel feasibility study conducted by CBRE Group — the former Coal Hole property in Shamokin and a Route 54 site near Natalie.
Anthracite Region for Progress (ARP) Executive Director Kathy Jeremiah said the results of the 80-page study show the benefit of building lodging in both of the areas rather than selecting one location, with each benefitting the other.
The study took three weeks and was completed April 15. Jeremiah said she toured the area with Frank Robinson and Krista Wieder, of Kairos Development Group, Philadelphia. The trio made a “complete loop” before deciding on the two locations.
The former Coal Hole property on Walnut Street was purchased by Andy Twiggar at a county judicial sale June 21, 2018.
Twiggar, a Shamokin-area native, owns five properties in Shamokin through the Bethlehem-based real estate company Dunn Twiggar and hopes to invest in the future of the region.
According to Jeremiah, a large 60-room hotel could be built on the property where the Walnut Towers Inn stood before it burned down in 1977. The remains of the building now house a dental office and Community Health Care.
Jeremiah said the hotel would also use a portion of the lot across the street from the building, which provides plenty of space for Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) users to park ATVs and bikes.
The site is ideal because of its close proximity to the AOAA, Jeremiah said.
The other site could provide a 20-room lodge, with the possibility of adding private cabins and a venue for events, said Jeremiah. The land is owned by brothers Dennis Jr. and Jeff Molesevich, who Jeremiah said always envisioned something happening with the property.
The hotel would overlook Route 54 into Weiser State Forest, which has a state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) grant to further develop mountain biking trails on the Weiser Tract.
Jeremiah said those involved believe it is the right time to bring lodging to Northumberland County, with the constant expansion of the AOAA, Knoebels Amusement Resort and Pennsylvania State Sportsmen’s Association continuing to bring people from across the country to the region.
Visitors are staying as far away as Schuylkill, Montour, Columbia and Snyder counties due to a need for lodging within Northumberland County, she said.
The study was conducted to assess if there is a need for a hotel.
Jeremiah said the extensive report not only identified that need but also the top locations to build potential successful hotels.
With the report now in hand, she believes the various parties can move forward by speaking with investors and developers.
“I’m very optimistic. I can already see myself at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. I’m very, very excited for our entire area,” Jeremiah said.