New bars/restaurants and hotel proposed in 9-story State College Town Centre project
More details are beginning to surface for the State College Town Centre Redevelopment Project, which centers on the downtown construction of a new nine-story building.
The proposed building on the 200 block of South Allen Street will include two bars/restaurants (one with outdoor dining on the ninth floor), commercial space on three different floors, a 172-spot parking deck and a 160-room hotel, according to a preliminary land development plan recently submitted to the borough. The new building will wrap around the Jeramar Building (228 S. Allen St.), which houses businesses such as Cozy Thai and The Sign Factory.
No early construction timetable was publicly available as of Wednesday afternoon. Local developer Highland Holding Group, which is overseeing the project, did not immediately respond to a CDT message seeking comment.
Still, construction isn’t expected to start anytime soon for this public-private partnership. The preliminary plan must still be reviewed by both the borough’s design review board (May 16) and planning commission (May 18), changes could be made, and a final design then needs to be reviewed. Borough Council must also hold a public hearing on the building June 5, to essentially allow the mixed-use project to proceed without any residential housing.
But, when — and if — this iteration of the State College Town Centre project does open, residents and visitors alike should have a lot to look forward to.
According to the preliminary plan, a bar/restaurant on the ninth floor will have an opening to two terraces for outdoor dining. The terraces — which combine for 3,190 square feet — are about 75% the size of the indoor bar/restaurant itself. (For comparison purposes, a newer Sheetz store is typically between 6,000 and 6,500 square feet.) A bar/restaurant on the building’s lower level — below the first floor — will be just under 7,000 square feet.
Commercial space will also be available on the lower level (5,600 square feet), first floor (4,400 square feet) and second floor (3,900 square feet). It’s not yet known what specific bars/restaurants and businesses/organizations might fill those spaces.
The only business that was specified in the preliminary plan was Canopy by Hilton, which intends to take over the 160-room hotel, with rooms on Floors 4-9. This particular Hilton brand, announced in 2014, boasts more than two dozen locations in the U.S., in cities such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. It is characterized by an orange color, canopies over the beds that are “inspired by the neighborhood” and an overall design theme intended to reflect each unique neighborhood. Most — but not all — Canopy by Hilton locations also welcome pets.
A lot of work remains to be done before construction on the 95-foot building is approved, let alone begins. After all, this project has been something the borough has seriously pursued since 2015. But the preliminary plan is an important step forward, and more information should become available as soon as next week during the design review board and planning commission meetings.