Bellefonte Borough Council approves two-year time frame to redevelop armory site

Bellefonte council voted Monday to give the development authority two years to develop the former armory site.
Bellefonte council voted Monday to give the development authority two years to develop the former armory site. Photo provided

More development is in store for the borough.

However, it remains unknown what will go in near the Interstate 99 corridor.

Council voted 8-0 Monday to an agreement to give the Bellefonte Industrial Development Authority two years to develop 7.5 acres along Zion Road and East Bishop Street near I-99. The borough bought the property last year for about $750,000.

The I-99 corridor development is zoned for commercial use, which the borough wants to get back on its tax roll. The former National Guard Armory could be used for the borough’s police and emergency services.

“In general terms, we’re probably looking at things like a bank or restaurant, things that would typically be in that area,” borough Manager Ralph Stewart said. “It could also be retail or a drug store or anything that fits into that commercial zoning.”

Stewart has received calls from “several developers” about the property without advertising it yet.

“We think with the location just a short distance from I-99 it is an excellent area for development, and what we want to do is similar to the waterfront project where we turned it over to IDA to sit down with developers and discuss what could be done there,” Stewart said.

The borough is open to leasing or selling the property.

“I’d say it’ll be a year or so to work out the direction for property and if it’s least or sold,” Stewart said. “We’re open to both.”

The borough also set the groundbreaking for the waterfront project at 10 a.m. May 29 near where the Bush House Hotel stood. Glenn O. Hawbaker submitted the lowest bid, about $3.2 million, for the public side of the project, which will begin in June with building a walkway and floodwall along Spring Creek from High to Lamb streets.

“We have talked to developers, but do not have an agreement in place yet,” Stewart said. “We did a strategic plan study of various uses that could go in there. That’s been our guiding principle for the project. When we turn it over for commercial development it could end up being used for a hotel or a mixed use development.”

People can follow development of the waterfront and I-99 corridor projects at the IDA meetings, which are at 6 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month in council chambers at the borough building. Minutes from the IDA meetings are also posted online.