State College

Historic Glennland Building sale falls through

A view of the Glennland Building located at 205 E. Beaver Ave. in State College.
A view of the Glennland Building located at 205 E. Beaver Ave. in State College. Centre Daily Times, file

The out-of-town buyer with a sales agreement to purchase the historic Glennland Building has backed out.

"In the beginning, based on their experience, the buyer thought an infusion of ($30-$35 million) would be sufficient to transform the building into a first-class boutique hotel. Their studies indicated that the condition of the building was such that the cost would be substantially more than their preliminary estimates and therefore not feasible," Richard Campbell, a State College attorney whose family has owned the Glennland Building for eight decades, said in an email Friday.

The building, constructed in 1933 by businessmen O. W. Houts and Dr. Grover Glenn, sits on the corner of Beaver Avenue and South Pugh Street in downtown State College. It has the distinction of being the first five-story building and was the tallest in town until the 1970s. Currently, it houses a mix of apartments and commercial office space.

The building was passed down in ownership from Campbell's father to him and his two siblings and now their children.

"My first answer was: 'No, we would never sell the building.' And then after we looked at it from a realistic, economic standpoint, it looked like we didn’t have much choice," Campbell said last week.

He said the building needs about $3 million in renovations that the family doesn't have — the elevator is on its last leg and would require a $1 million fix; the facade needs work; retaining walls need to be adjusted.

The sales agreement had been slated to close at the end of the year, and the building's tenants were notified in March that they would need to vacate by Dec. 31.

Commercial and residential residents have been notified and offered the opportunity to renew their leases, Campbell said Friday, adding that they've had positive responses from many of them.

"We haven't made any long-term plan at this time," he said. "We have offered long-term leases to the commercial tenants, which would impede any efforts to sell the buildings. Renovations depend on a change of use and we are limited in what the Borough has allowed us to do with the property. We haven’t thought about any long-term plans since all this happened."