Dirt is moving and land is leveling as construction of two local student housing complexes gets under way, with the goal of opening to tenants next fall.
The Retreat will offer cottage-style living for close to 600 students, with the development situated between Waupelani Drive and West Whitehall Road. The site is mostly in College Township, with the Waupelani access in State College.
Grading began last week at the other location, The Villas at Happy Valley, a townhome complex for about 435 students between Trout Road and Dreibelbis Street in College Township.
Both complexes are on schedule, according to their developers.
Wes Rogers, president and CEO of Georgia-based Landmark Properties, said work continues at The Retreat site, with the goal of having all infrastructure in the ground and starting to pour concrete slabs in the next month. He said the
company hopes to have all slabs in the ground by Thanksgiving.
Were moving full-steam ahead for fall 2013 delivery, he said. Theres nothing thats been unexpected. We did ample due diligence.
As crews grade the topographically challenged site, large equipment moves dirt to the field across the street, behind the Westerly Parkway Plaza, the temporary construction staging area. Developers have a permit with the borough to use the space, and Rogers said the dirt will be used elsewhere on-site, or trucked away.
Were not going to leave a big dirt pile there, he said.
Borough Public Works Director Mark Whitfield said the only issue with construction may be damage to Waupelani caused by the large equipment. However, developers have a surety with College Township, and that section of the street will be repaved.
Im not too concerned about it being fixed, Whitfield said.
Borough staff also had to speak to developers and construction crews about proper procedure for closing the street. Crews closed Waupelani one day last week, but the borough didnt know about it, and there was no detour provided.
They had to tie into the sewer line and bring it across the road, Whitfield said. It was a legit reason, but theyre to give us notice whenever theyre going to close the street. They were very amenable.
Elsewhere in College Township, the site for The Villas is being prepared for the coming townhomes.
Were thrilled with the progress thus far, said Steve Bisbee, with developer Keystone Real Estate Group. Its great to have our team out there moving dirt and beginning the construction process.
Work this fall will include installing infrastructure and bringing in a model home. Keystone plans to begin marketing the development in conjunction with Penn States fall Housing Fair, set for Sunday.
This winter, Bisbee said crews will do what work they can, and install the townhomes in the spring.
Bisbee said hes excited about the project, because Keystone is a local developer, and the units will be managed locally as well.
Its also exciting that theres a number of new projects going on, he said.
Township Manager Adam Brumbaugh said hes not aware of any problems with the project.
However, the township and Keystone also are in the middle of a court appeal. Keystone at the end of July appealed the determined fee-in-lieu of providing the nearly 6 acres of open space required on-site.
The developer paid the higher fee calculated by the township appraiser, then filed an appeal.
In the latest court filing related to the case last week, township solicitor Louis Glantz requested a court hearing, originally scheduled for Wednesday, be continued until October, because he will be out of town. The filing states Keystone attorney Jeffrey Ernico did not object to the request.
The filing includes the new hearing time and date 1 p.m. on Oct. 26 at the Centre County Courthouse.
Bisbee said the hearing will give both sides a chance to state their positions for the legal record and set up for the coming court proceeding.
Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter