State College

Old Atherton supermarket site to see new development

This site along N. Atherton St., in State College, which has been vacant for years is going to be developed, May 13, 2015.
This site along N. Atherton St., in State College, which has been vacant for years is going to be developed, May 13, 2015. CDT photo

The old A&P supermarket site, which has been vacant for decades, is long overdue for a facelift.

Florida developers plan to give it one that, according to blueprints submitted to the township, would result in three new retail stores and two restaurants.

Win Development, based out of Belleair Beach in the Sunshine State, bought the property for $2.85 million in late April from the Pittsburgh Cyndon Co. The asking price in previous listings for the property at 1910 N. Atherton St. was $3.5 million.

Developers submitted plans to the township in late January for the existing 26,949-square-foot building to be razed, a new lot to be paved and three buildings to be constructed.

The proposed building next to Chick-fil-A would have 4,549 square feet dedicated to a retail store and a 3,014-square-foot restaurant. The eatery would have 720 square feet of indoor seating and 330 square feet of outdoor seating.

The middle building in the lot would be divided into 2,543 and 1,215 square foot retail stores. And the building next to Denny’s would be a 2,728 square foot restaurant with 989 square feet of indoor seating and 300 square feet of outdoor seating.

It is unknown what stores and eateries will operate at the development. Submissions have not been made to the township for the businesses, according to township staffers, and developer Owen Ewing did not respond to requests for comment.

According to township staff, the developers are working with the state Department of Transportation on traffic issues.

The proposed plan would eliminate the current access path to the lot, turn it into parking and create two access paths, one at the intersection of Colonnade Way and North Atherton and one at the bottom of the lot. There would be 97 parking spaces.

“This is absolutely feasible,” township engineer Brent Brubaker said. “The parking works, and we’re working to make sure we have an adequate left turn lane into the site, and the ingress and egress items are what we’re particularly looking at. This is feasible, and looks like an appropriate use for where it’s located.”

Brubaker said the developer’s plans could go before the Planning Commission June 1 and get action from the Board of Supervisors in July pending approval by PennDOT in the next two weeks.

Brubaker and township zoning officer Ken Soder said previous possibilities for the property included a Halloween-themed store, Chick-fil-A and Dairy Queen, but that deals were never reached.

“In the past, the owner has been contacted by other potential developers, and we don’t know which of these it was, but either the price wasn’t right or he just didn’t want to move it,” Brubaker said.

A hurdle for past potential developers and business owners at the site was the existing building’s condition.

“The building was so old that if anyone wanted to operate in it, they’d need to have code (enforcement) go in there and go through the whole building,” Brubaker said. “It’s been there forever, not doing anything, and I’m sure it’s very outdated with respect to code.”

“If the building were located properly for access, it would probably be feasible to save it,” Soder added. “With the access and the red light at Colonnade Way, it’s just logical to take it down.”

And to start anew.

“It’s a great location for development,” Brubaker said. “You’ve got a commercial piece of property sitting here vacant for so long, so it definitely is nice to finally get something in there.”