Bellefonte moves closer to handing over Garman site

mmorgan@centredaily.comMarch 14, 2014 

The Garman Theatre saga may soon be over once and for all.

The Bellefonte Industrial Development Authority filed its final status and accounting reports, and they were approved by the Court of Common Pleas. The only hurdle left is the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association’s appeal to the Supreme Court, solicitor Rodney Beard said.

“Essentially now we’re just waiting until the Supreme Court acts,” he said. “And assuming the Supreme Court acts favorably to our position, we’ll just file a petition to terminate the conservatorship, and that will end that matter.”

Bellefonte took control of the property under the Pennsylvania Abandoned and Blighted Property Conservatorship Act after a 2012 fire that badly damaged the building and destroyed the next-door Hotel Do De.

The IDA chose developer Ara Kervandjian’s affordable housing proposal over the BHCA plan to restore the building as a regional arts center. Kervandjian, managing member of Progress Development Group, plans to create a new building at the former Garman and Do De sites and combine it with a rebuilt Cadillac Building to generate 32 units of workforce housing apartments.

BHCA pleas to change the decision at the municipal and state levels were shot down.

Kervandjian petitioned the IDA to be released from his demolition bond now that the demolition work has been completed, but IDA member Frank “Buddy” Halderman said he must complete all requirements before he’s willing to release the bond.

Under the agreement, Kervandjian must lay down topsoil and seed to grow grass on the lot before the deal with the borough is complete. He has until May to complete the task.

“I wouldn’t release the bond until we’re satisfied, and I don’t think we’re satisfied yet,” Halderman said.

Additionally, Centre County government recently purchased part of the former Do De site to combine the Courthouse Annex and the Temple Court Building, but Beard said that won’t affect anything because Kervandjian is only required to grow grass on the Garman site.

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

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