BUSHKILL — Fernwood Hotel has been sold to a Buddhist temple group. The Jinyin Temple of Sino Esoteric Buddhism, Inc. paid $2.55 million for the former resort in Bushkill, Pike and Monroe County tax records show.
“It’s going to be a world peace center,” said Judy Acosta, zoning administrator for Middle Smithfield Township. “I believe they’re going to incorporate some prayer gardens on the property and have it be like a retreat center.”
A spokesperson for the temple could not be reached for comment.
Temple officials signed two deeds on Oct. 31 for seven parcels in Middle Smithfield Township, said Cindy Treible, chief tax assessor for Monroe County. Nov. 3 is the date of record for the sale.
The temple paid $1.69 million for the 30.26-acre property that includes the resort and event center buildings. It paid another $850,000 for six smaller parcels, some of which have homes on them, surrounding the hotel.
The same sale also included a contiguous property on the Lehman Township side of Bushkill Creek. That 5.19-acre parcel sold for $10,000, the Pike County Assessment Office confirmed. Its date of record is the same as that of the Monroe County transactions.
Former Fernwood-owner Bushkill Group, Inc. sold the hotel in 2011 to developer Jim Ertle, who shuttered it in 2014 for renovations. The site has remained vacant.Bushkill Group bought back the hotel at a 2015 tax sale. Parent company Resorts Group, Inc. retained the property when Cerberus Capital Management, L.P., a New York investment firm, acquired Bushkill Group earlier this year.
Fernwood’s new temple owners have plans to restore the hotel already, said Acosta.
“The initial plan is to have housing for their workers,” she said. “They need to make some minor renovations to get through the winter months, so the buildings don’t continue to deteriorate.”
Those repairs include a new roof for one building, Acosta also said. The temple so far has obtained permits to renovate one of the smaller residences, which will used by grounds keeping staff.
“My understanding is that this is a one- to two-year project,” said Acosta. “Over the next couple years, they’ll be renovating the rest of buildings.”
Lehman Township had not received any permit requests from the group as of Tuesday, Zoning Officer Stan Whittaker confirmed. That part of the property currently has no improvements on-site.