Garman Theatre hearing moved up to Friday

mmorgan@centredaily.comOctober 10, 2013 

Develop5

Fire and water damage inside the Garman theatre. Developer Ara Kervandjian opened the Garman Theatre and Restaurant, in Bellefonte, Pa., to public tours, October 4, 2013, to show the fire and water damage inside the building.

NABIL K. MARK — CDT photos Buy Photo

— The hearing on the fate of the Garman Theatre has been moved to Friday.

Centre County President Judge Thomas King Kistler has scheduled a one-hour emergency hearing for 1:15 p.m. in Courtroom 1 in Bellefonte. This replaces the hearing originally slated for Tuesday.

The hearing was scheduled in regard to a Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association injunction, which would prevent State College developer Ara Kervandjian’s company, Progress Development Group, from demolishing the building before the appeals process is complete.

But the parties have realized the deadline for any kind of appeal is Monday.

“Having a hearing after that date seems to be a futile exercise,” Kistler wrote in an email.

The option to purchase the building was awarded to Kervandjian last month after his 32-unit workforce housing plan was approved by the Bellefonte Industrial Development Authority. The IDA took control of the building in March under the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act.

Kervandjian’s plan was chosen over a BCHA proposal that would have revitalized the building and turned it into a regional arts center. Kervandjian would raze both the Garman and the Hotel Do De and combine it with the Cadillac Building to create the housing developments. All three buildings were badly damaged by fires.

BHCA leaders assert that not all provisions under the Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act were met because Kervandjian does not have all of his funding in place. He is seeking Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency tax credits to complete the project.

The group also has maintained that there is a restrictive covenant on the building, claiming it should not be knocked down if it’s structurally sound and that the IDA should not have been named conservator of the property.

They have vowed to continue fighting until all options are exhausted.

Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan.

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