More than 400 acres of Cornwall Borough property surrounding the Cornwall quarry changed hands last month in a transaction that officially closes the books on a waylaid real estate venture once planned for the site.
Once envisioned as The Preserve at Cornwall Village, the land surrounding the Cornwall quarry – which today serves as a backup water supply for the Elizabethtown Area Water Authority – was purchased last month by Cornwall Properties, an LLC connected with Byler Holdings, owners of Iron Valley Golf Course and numerous other ventures in the area.
“At this time, we’re just exploring different options for that property and going from there,” said company president and CEO Jonathan Byler.
The properties were purchased for $4,425,000 in a transaction dated May 18 and recorded with the county the next day.
Construction engineering company Haines and Kibblehouse once planned a $300 million development for the area surrounding the flooded quarry, a project that ultimately got held up due to a sticking point with PennDOT over securing access from Route 322 to the site. According to Cornwall Borough meeting minutes, the firm began to shop around the site in 2018 to see if Cornwall Manor would be interested in buying the properties or participating in their development.
The H&K development, if fully realized, would have seen hundreds of homes, a major hotel, 30,000 square feet of commercial space, a water park, and a marina built on a campus encircling the now-flooded pit of the Cornwall Iron Banks.
The Cornwall Iron Banks date back to the early 1730s when Peter Grubb discovered that there was iron, and likely a lot of it, in the area’s foothills. The quarry began to take on its current inundated appearance with the diluvian arrival of Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972.
The H&K plan had been supported by Byler, who wrote in a 2010 letter that it would be a great benefit to area residents and the region.
Byler said that there has been an ongoing relationship between H&K through Byler Holding’s materials divisions, and that Byler Holdings had previously expressed an interest in the property if H&K was ever going to sell it.
“We obviously own property up against it and we’re neighbors,” said Byler. “We feel like it’s a spectacular piece of property that adds to our land holdings in the area.”
Byler said that plans for the property, including whether it might try to acquire the quarry itself, are all still in the exploratory phase.
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