The Times Leader
Published: Feb 4, 2016

Robert Tamburro

PLAINS TWP. — As rumors circulate about which new retail store or stores might open at the site of the former Valley Crest Nursing Home, the new property owner says it’s too early in the process to name tenants.

“We’ve had some discussions (with possible retail tenants) but everything’s been preliminary,” Robert Tamburro, of Tamburro R.E. Development and Management LLC, said on Thursday.

“These projects are marathons; they’re not sprints. We’re in the marathon now and we’re optimistic and excited and grateful for the opportunity,” Tamburro said.

County officials transferred the operation of the nursing home to a private entity — Complete HealthCare — in December 2005 because its declining occupancy rates and uncontrolled expenses became a drain on county finances.

County officials had been trying to sell Valley Crest since the private operator relocated to its new Timber Ridge Health Care Center nearby in early 2010.

Tamburro R.E. Development and Management LLC entered into an agreement with Luzerne County last March to purchase the 62.3-acre property off state Route 315 for $2.075 million. The property transferred hands in December, and Tamburro plans to demolish the nursing home to make way for a new residential and commercial project.

“The first order of business is to demolish the existing structure and series of structures. We have some abatement to do related to asbestos on the site,” Tamburro said.

If all goes as planned, demolition should take place this summer, he said.

Another order of business is securing “proper access” to the site off state Route 315, which Tamburro described as a “complex task” given that the current access road is about half-way between the convergence of Mundy Street with Kidder Street and the intersection of state routes 309 and 315.

Tamburro said he’s been in discussions with officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the nearby Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center as well as local government officials on the access issue.

“As far as the future goes, we’re in the process of bringing some leasing agents on board,” Tamburro said. “As for specific tenants, there is nothing definite at this time.”