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Partners purchase parcel in Benner Commerce Park

When the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County didn’t have the cash to close on a parcel of property in Benner Commerce Park, the Bellefonte-State College I-99 Partnership paid the bill.

Last month, the chamber closed on a piece of property at Benner Commerce Park for $300,000. The parcel is in the rear of the park, where a YMCA is expected to be built.

The partnership is also in line to purchase the rest of Benner Commerce Park from the CBICC and work to fill vacant spots.

Paul Silvis, a member of the partnership, said when the CBICC didn’t have the cash to close on the future YMCA property, the chamber reached out to the partnership.

“If it’s a choice to use our money or theirs, it’s better to use their money,” CBICC President Vern Squier said.

Squier said the $300,000 for the transaction will be deducted from the overall $3.3 million purchase price of the business park, which the partnership hopes to officially own by late fall.

The partnership consists of local business leaders Silvis, owner of SilcoTek, which opened earlier this summer in the commerce park; Heidi Nicholas, of Nicholas Enterprises; and Bob Poole, owner of S&A Homes.

Silvis said once the park is officially in the trio’s hands, space will be sold through real estate agent Scott Yocum, of Re/Max.

Yocum said he will sit down with the investors to come up with a price per acre. Yocum said he plans on selling each acre between $70,000 and $80,000.

“It’s not just about price per acre,” Yocum said. “It’s really about putting a price on land exposure. The larger the lot, the less the acre price; the smaller the lot, the more per acre.”

Yocum said because Benner Commerce Park is off I-99 in a Keystone Opportunity Zone — a state incentive program that offers tax breaks for businesses willing to set up shop on the property — it’s in a prime location.

Silvis said the partnership made an offer on the entire park — and not per acre.

“We did not pay a per-acre price because we got detention ponds and other nonrevenue producing acreage,” Silvis said.

Squier added that when the park was sold to the partnership, it ended up coming to approximately $70,000 an acre.

At the nearby Penn Eagle Industrial Park off of Benner Pike on Rolling Ridge Drive in Bellefonte, land prices vary.

Ellen Kline, of Re/Max, who represents property in the park, said the average listing price in that park is about $200,000 for 2- or 3-acre parcels depending on variables such as topography, location within the park, if facilities are already on the property and more.

She is representing a 4.49-acre lot selling for $250,000. That comes to about $55,679 per acre. However there is a 10.9-acre lot selling for $390,000 in Penn Eagle. That price had dropped recently from $450,000 after the lot was on the market for more than 200 days.

Another plot of 1.84 acres is selling for about $90,000. The highest listed lot is $5.7 million; however, Kline said that parcel of property already has a building on it.

Kline said real estate agents price the property by using comparable sales within the industrial park.

“It really depends on the lay of the land,” she added. “Some of them aren’t as flat or conducive to building.”

Benner Commerce Park is divided into three sections: the main business park of separate lots and development areas; the 45-acre lot behind the commerce park for future YMCA grounds; and an additional plot of 32 acres of land next to I-99 separate from the main park area.

The county planning office is reviewing that 45-acre parcel of property. Its review should be done by the end of September, and Silvis said once that is done, the partnership officially could take ownership of the commerce park.

YMCA President Howard Long said a price for its future property has not been determined. The CBICC is looking at numbers, which have not been disclosed, but he said the chamber would have a final figure by the end of the month.

“This is not a quick and easy process,” Silvis said.

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