In the lobby of the restored Cadillac Building hangs a huge photo of the building from back in the day — when it was full of cars, not affordable apartments.
The Bellefonte Mews — an affordable housing project in the Cadillac Building and former Garman Opera House — had its grand opening on Thursday.
The project, completed by developer Ara Kervandjian, houses 21 one- and two-bedroom units in the Garman House, located at 116 E. High St., and 11 two- and three-bedroom units in the Cadillac Building, located at the corner of Allegheny and Bishop streets.
Fires destroyed both historic landmarks — the Cadillac Building in 2009 and the Garman House in 2012.
Nancy Perkins, of Bellefonte, the great niece of Anna Wagner Keichline who designed the Cadillac Building in 1916, said she was interested to see the building preserved.
Keichline, Pennsylvania’s first registered woman architect, designed the building before she was even able to vote, Perkins said.
The building “languished” for a while, and she was worried it might not be restored, Perkins said.
She said she was “really pleased” with the way it turned out — the exterior was kept in tact, but the interior has been updated to make it appropriate for its new use.
The two buildings already have 13 occupied units — nine in the Garman and four in the Cadillac, said Mary Adams, senior property manager at Property Management Inc.
The purpose of the grand opening, which included a ribbon cutting and tours of several apartments, was to introduce the community to the buildings, Adams said.
“I am excited to have this wonderful addition to the Bellefonte community,” Kervandjian said.
What makes the grand opening the most gratifying, he said, is how the hard work of everyone involved in the project translated into benefiting the families who are living there and will live there in the future.