Growth plan for Toftrees would put 2,600 residences, commercial space along Interstate 99

mcarroll@centredaily.comJanuary 20, 2014 

— An updated growth plan for Toftrees calls for construction of thousands of residences and a town square commercial district on a sprawling, now largely wooded tract of land north of Interstate 99 near Waddle Road.

Developers have submitted an updated Toftrees master plan to Patton Township officials, offering a glimpse of what the future might hold for the planned community.

The plan shows developers want to build 2,600 residences, from single-family homes to apartment complexes, and 541,240 square feet of commercial space in a town center, including room for hotels, restaurants and retailers.

Patton Township officials said the master plan spells out which areas would someday be neighborhoods, and which would be a hotel. It’s just the first step in what could be a decades-long development project.

A spokesperson with developer S&A Homes in State College did not return messages seeking comment.

The plan identifies the new developments as the west side of the Toftrees community. The complex would feature more residential units and considerably more commercial space than the largely developed east side.

The east side includes the Village at Penn State, Cricklewood, Fox Run Windridge, Hillside, Turtle Creek, Parkgate, Squirrel Run, Fox Hollow and Coopers Pond neighborhoods.

New developments on the west side will be built across 707 acres of land north of I-99, west of the Waddle Road interchange and the Toftrees Golf Resort and east of Cedar Cliff residential development.

“The current development intent is to develop neighborhoods that will blend the right mixture of family residences with the support of a town center,” S&A officials wrote in the master plan.

About 30 percent of the land will remain open space, and the plans call for a series of internal walking trails that link the individual neighborhoods as well as open spaces and the town center, according to the plan.

The Bellefonte Central Rail Trail, which runs through the tract, will also be preserved, according to the developer’s plans.

Doug Erickson, Patton Township manager, said staff will review the master plan, identify any issues and send it back to the developers. If there are no issues, the plan could go before the township planning commission in March and the supervisors sometime after that for possible approval.

Individual parts of the development, such as neighborhoods, an apartment complex or commercial buildings, would need a land-development approval before construction could begin. It will likely be decades, he said, before all the proposed projects are approved and completed.

“Toftrees has been under development for 40 years now,” Erickson said. “I suspect it will be another 40 years before Toftrees is (finished).”

Work approved to start sooner than that might be held up by the ongoing Waddle Road interchange project. Congestion on the bridge pushes the structure to its traffic capacity now, and that must be addressed before the area can continue growing, officials said.

The Waddle Road project already has $3 million in funding, borrowed by the township, to begin preliminary engineering and make the project what officials call “shovel ready,” should more funding become available

Construction is estimated at $11 million for the project.

Erickson said officials are hopeful funding will be provided by the state or federal highway administrations.

“(Development) really can’t move without (the project),” he said. “The area can never develop unless we get increased capacity.”

Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.

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