Bellefonte’s waterfront district: Flood wall plans hold up development

mmorgan@centredaily.comMarch 13, 2014 

CHRISTOPHER WEDDLE — Centre Daily Times Buy Photo

— The Bellefonte Industrial Development Authority is still working out the details of the flood wall for the waterfront redevelopment project, and the effort is now almost a year behind schedule.

The borough kicked off the project in March 2013, hoping to submit the flood wall permitting application to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection by August, which would have allowed construction to begin in early 2014. That timeline could have put the property in the hands of a developer by the start of the construction season in 2015.

Now officials aren’t expecting completion of the wall until the summer of 2015, which could delay the potential developer into the following year.

In the meantime, the borough is looking for some state funding for site work to prepare the project for the application phase, Assistant Borough Manager Don Holderman said.

The site work, totaling about $118,000, would clear the property from geological and historical prospectives, allowing it to be permitted for the wall and sold to a developer.

Buchart Horn engineer Scott Russell requested to start doing some of the site work before the grant is in hand, but Holderman said they will hold off because work done before approval might not be covered through the grant.

“The good news is that they process these fairly quickly,” he said. “(The grant administrator) felt that within 45 days or so, that we would have the grant and actually be able to begin.”

Holderman said he talked to the grant administrator this week and he has received Bellefonte’s application and is processing it. The grant would fund 75 percent of the project, leaving the remainder for a local match.

Once the flood wall is completed, the borough plans to sell the land to a private developer who would create a complex that would include a hotel, commercial space and apartment units. The development would be located along Spring Creek on the three tracts of land between High and Lamb streets.

The IDA adjourned the meeting into an executive session to talk to members of the Waterfront Redevelopment Group, one of the possible developers. The other is Ara Kervandjian, of Progress Development Group.

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

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