Bellefonte affordable housing effort to get more funds

Affordable housing in Bellefonte got a booster shot Tuesday when the Board of Commissioners approved additional funding for the Bellefonte Mews project.

The project, headed by developer Ara Kervandjian and his company, Progress Development Group, seeks to redevelop the lot formerly occupied by the Garman Theater and Hotel Do De into affordable housing units.

Garman and Do De were destroyed in a fire in 2009.

The funding comes through a memorandum of agreement between the county and Bellefonte Mews, which has been approved for a $100,000 loan of Act 137 money from the Centre County Trust Fund. The funds will provide for part of the construction of the Bellefonte Mews, at 112 E. High St. and 100 W. Bishop St.

According to Vice Chairman Chris Exarchos, Act 137 funds are collected from fees for the sale and transfer of properties and are for affordable housing and first-time home buyers.

Chairman Steve Dershem said the loan is zero interest. Normally, funds of this type are given without the expectation of repayment, but this loan will be returned.

“We need more affordable housing here in Centre County,” Commissioner Michael Pipe said, “and this will be a project that will help that happen.”