State College

State College Borough Council approves Fraser Centre design changes

After years of delays, rumors and setbacks, it appears the path is finally clear to bring the Fraser Centre to downtown State College.

Borough Council voted Monday to accept a conditional use modification request from York-based Susquehanna Real Estate, which seeks to build the 250,000-square-foot structure at the corner of West Beaver Avenue and South Fraser Street.

The modification request was necessary because the Fraser Centre design has changed drastically since council first approved a conditional use permit for the project in 2008. Once set to include a movie theater as an anchor tenant, it now will feature a 158-room hotel, 26 condominiums, retail space and a restaurant.

Council held a public hearing earlier this month on the request. At the same meeting, the panel cleared the way for Monday’s ruling by voting to amend certain requirements for obtaining a conditional use permit.

Those revisions included allowing a signature development building to be 155 feet instead of 145, a new curb cut to be placed on Beaver Avenue and parking to be available at an off-site location.

Council President Don Hahn was the lone member to vote against those revisions during the July 1 public hearing, expressing concern about allowing certain downtown buildings to exceed height restrictions that had been on the books.

But Hahn on Monday joined with the rest of council in making it a unanimous decision to approve the conditional use modification request from the Fraser Centre developer.

Hahn said the request met the requirements council approved without his support earlier this month. Additionally, three setbacks requested by the developer meet guidelines the borough has followed in the past when making conditional use decisions, he said.

“I’m breaking with a very long line of dissents and actually voting for this,” Hahn said.

Developer Jack Kay, president of Susquehanna Real Estate, has said construction should remain on schedule to start in November if council approved the request.

The building’s first two floors will be internal parking, with the second floor also including retail space. The third floor, which will appear as the ground floor from the front of the building facing West Beaver Avenue, will feature the hotel lobby and retail space.

Above that will be a restaurant and hotel space. The next six floors will be hotel rooms, and the top four floors will be privately owned condominiums, according to developers.

Borough officials have said at least three retail stores or restaurants have agreed to lease space, but the names of those entities have not been disclosed.