Bellefonte

Who'll take a chance on The Gamble Mill? Here's what's happening now

The building that formerly was the Gamble Mill at 160 Dunlap Street in Bellefonte is still on the market, as its most recent deal fell through.
The building that formerly was the Gamble Mill at 160 Dunlap Street in Bellefonte is still on the market, as its most recent deal fell through. adrey@centredaily.com

The Gamble Mill is still on the market.

Plans for the historic mill to reopen after more than three years of vacancy as The Inn at Lamb's Mill have fallen through, as potential buyers Shauna McClure and Gary Werkheiser have let their contract expire.

Bellefonte borough Assistant Manager Don Holderman said Werkheiser called the borough a few months ago to inform them of his intention to let their contract expire. He did, however, leave open the possibility of renegotiating. Holderman, though, said he does not have information on whether or not that is happening or what the status might be.

McClure and Werkheiser entered into an agreement to purchase the 106 Dunlap St. property in September, and planned to redevelop it as The Inn at Lamb's Mill, an ode to the site's original name. The vision for the location included a luxury boutique hotel, a high-end restaurant featuring locally sourced food and an authentic Irish pub.

This isn't the first time a potential buyer has backed out of an agreement to purchase the historic site since the Gamble Mill closed its doors in January 2015. Marian Bradley, of Montana, led a group of buyers that confirmed their intention to buy the property and turn it into a restaurant and brewery in July 2016, but that deal was also never closed.

"Everyone would love to see the Gamble Mill come back to where it was a few years ago when we had that nice fine-dining restaurant," Holderman said. "There's so many people who have such good memories of that. And obviously, from our standpoint, if someone were to come in and get that going again, it would be an anchor and probably a boost to hopefully selling the waterfront property and getting the second phase of that going."

Hope, however, that the Gamble Mill will again be open to customers should not be abandoned.

Derek Canova, a real estate agent with Kissinger, Bigatel and Brower, said they have had other potential buyers interested in the property, which is listed on his agency’s website for $1 million.

Canova said that since fall of 2014, when the property first hit the market, there's been plenty of interest and several different people who have come forward. But it was just those two potential buyers who had offers that looked like they'd go through.

"It just takes, you know, this little thing called money," he said. "Everything has been well-prepared on the seller's side and the borough has been absolutely amazing and very helpful throughout the process and willing to help the new buyer. There's been a lot of people playing a hand and trying to help the buyer acquire this and make it a good fit."

The Gamble Mill's co-owners Dave Fonash and Paul Kendeffy closed the fine-dining establishment in January 2015 to pursue different career paths. The property at the north end of Bellefonte's Waterfront Revitalization District has sat vacant ever since.

"I think it's going to happen," Holderman said. "It just takes the right buyer, whether it's a buyer or investors, and hopefully it will come back and be what it was."

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