Centre County officials say the first phase of work to the Temple Court building in downtown Bellefonte should be completed by the end of the year, and that project won’t interfere with development underway next door at the site of the former Garman Theatre and Hotel Do De.
Commissioner Steve Dershem said Friday the panel is ready to seek bids for the first round of work to the Temple Court building, which the county bought last year to provide more room for court operations.
Earlier this month, developer Ara Kervandjian received almost $2 million in federal tax credits and PennHOMES funding to build affordable, multiple-family dwellings at the former locations of the Garman and Do De and the Cadillac Building.
Kervandjian said he hopes to break ground on the project by early 2015 and have the work finished by the end of that year.
With Kervandjian’s successful application for the tax credits and his time frame established, Dershem said, the county has to move to have the first part of its renovation of Temple Court finished by the end of this year.
“We will need to be out by the end of the year,” Dershem said.
The first part of the project deals with a path from the main courthouse to the new Temple Court and Courthouse Annex complex with planters and a walkway across High Street
Dershem said the second phase of construction, to connect the buildings and create a High Street entrance to the complex, can be done later without interfering with work at the Garman and Do De sites.
That second phase could move forward in 2015, depending on the county’s budget, Dershem said.
Bellefonte previously did its part to ensure the county and Kervandjian construction schedules wouldn’t overlap. Borough Council approved an agreement to exempt the county from submitting a land-use development plan, which was similar to other plans already submitted, to try and expedite the process.
The Do De and Garman lots have been vacant since demolition, which ended earlier this year. Both of the former buildings were badly damaged in a 2012 fire.
Kervandjian and his company, Progress Development Group, plan to redevelop the lot and fire-damaged Cadillac Building to create 32 units of workforce-housing apartments.
He previously said receiving state funding for his Bellefonte Mews development was a “huge win for the families displaced by terrible fires and for historic Bellefonte.”
Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter.