The one business on the borough’s waterfront property will stick around for another few months.
The Bellefonte Industrial Development Authority approved a request from Victorian Signs owner Bob Bowersox to extend his lease for up to three more months while he attempts to move his shop to a new location.
In a letter to the IDA, Bowersox said that weather and contractor delays have slowed his transition to a spot in Penn Eagle Industrial Park and requested the extension. The lease rate will remain at $600 per month.
Borough Manager Ralph Stewart said the IDA wants to encourage and promote business in the Bellefonte area, so it decided to grant the extension.
Some tempers flared when the borough purchased the property last year, eventually forcing out all the tenants on the land. Borough officials wanted to take over the property to sell the three tracts along Spring Creek to a developer who would turn it into a multi-building complex.
Stewart said he hopes this extension can help to smooth over any potential animosity.
“We just want to put any difficulties behind us and extend, sort of, a good will effort,” he said.
Bowersox’s lease was set to end March 16, but this extension will give him up to three more months to make the transition. Stewart said that should be more than enough time.
The decision could cost the borough a little extra money through property taxes.
Because the sign business is there, the property must remain on the tax rolls and the borough has to take that monetary hit. Stewart said he will try to prorate the 2014 taxes once all businesses are out to see if the borough can get a small tax break.
The two adjacent properties —the Bush House property and the Cerro property — already are off the tax rolls, Stewart said.
Bellefonte officials are still working through the process of selling the waterfront land to a developer. It must first get state approval and build a flood wall, because the land is in the 100-year flood plain.
In the end, the borough is hoping to get all of its money back and have a developer construct a complex that includes a hotel, commercial space and apartment units.