Buyers said to be interested in Philips Hotel

Two potential buyers are interested in the recently shuttered Philips Hotel in downtown Philipsburg, according to the building’s owner.

Faith Lucchesi, a State College attorney, said there is serious interest in the property from at least two parties — one wants to convert the building to an independent living facility and the other to low-income housing.

“The building will most likely turn into some kind of residential facility, given the interest so far,” Lucchesi said.

That transition would be nothing new for the building, which served as a retirement home for decades before the business relocated in 2006. An ownership group including Lucchesi bought the property in January 2008 for $200,000.

They sought to return the one-time hotel to its former grandeur by renovating the ballroom and lobby and opening a fine-dining restaurant. It was hoped that the move would be a key piece of Philipsburg’s downtown revitalization.

The group spent more than $2 million on renovations, but were reimbursed $1 million by a state grant money earmarked for the redevelopment of downtown Philipsburg after a 2005 fire destroyed three buildings and left a void in the town.

Now, less than two years after securing the grant, the building has gone dark.

Lucchesi said all the grant money was spent bringing the building up to code and improving its infrastructure, something she said makes the building more viable moving forward.

When they took the grant, the owners thought the business was sustainable. Lucchesi cited a down economic, in part, for the struggles.

Philipsburg Borough Manager Jan McDonald has expressed optimism that money put into the building will make it more attractive for potential buyers. The listing agent for the property is Re/Max Centre Realty. The listed price is $1.7 million.