In anticipation of working out a deal with developer Ara Kervandjian soon, the Centre County Board of Commissioners passed a procedural resolution at its meeting Tuesday to get the ball rolling.
The county wants to acquire about 10 feet of the former Hotel Do De plot for extra space to connect the Courthouse Annex and Temple Court Building. It also needs a construction easement on the property until the end of the year to allow time to get the work done.
Kervandjian purchased the property last year as part of a work-force housing development project, and Commissioner Chris Exarchos is confident they can work out a deal for the additional space by next week. He said the resolution is to get the process started so the county controls the construction timetable; it’s not because of failing negotiations.
“I want to stress this is only procedural, he said. “We’re in negotiations with the developer, and hopefully we will be able to conclude those negotiations shortly.”
Exarchos said the negotiations are “in the thousands, not the hundreds of thousands.”
The county’s construction project would include an indoor connection between the two buildings on all three floors and a High Street entrance to the complex. Exarchos said it’s a bit tricky because the floors don’t line up so it would have to include access ramps.
It would allow for smoother traffic through both buildings, and it would also provide an more streamlined path from the courthouse to the annex and Temple Court buildings, Commissioner Steve Dershem said.
“It’s really kind of an exciting project, because it’s really going to dress up the streetscape, and I think it’s going to really provide us with everything we need from a security and access standpoint, he said.
The board also approved a contract Tuesday between the county and Penn Terra Engineering to re-plot the tax parcels for the annex, Temple Court and former Do De properties. This would create new deeds for all three properties, reflecting the changes in the pending agreement and includes a fee that will not exceed $3,800.
After an agreement is reached, the county will need to bid out the project and complete construction before the year is over. Exarchos said he would like to see the project go to bid by July.
Though it will be a long process, Exarchos said the county will need to stick to the end-of-year timetable.
“We want to make sure that we get our project done and out of the way so we don’t hold him up with his project,” he said.