Background: Allen Street Civic District Redevelopment Plan

History
Former Verizon BuildingIn 2007, the Borough purchased the former Verizon Building, located at 224 S. Allen Street, with the intention of conveying the building to the Discovery Space Children's Science Museum. In 2008, Discovery Space asked for an extension on the agreement with the Borough, and indicated that the museum would be looking for a smaller space to launch. From 2008 to 2010, the former Verizon Building was leased to various campaign and election committee offices. Since 2011, the building has been leased to Penn State University for departmental offices.

In early 2015, Discovery Space requested that Council once again consider conveying the former Verizon Building to the museum. At the same time, Penn State University requested a lease extension for the building in order to launch an incubator as part of the 'Invent Penn State' economic development initiative. Two additional ideas for the reuse of the building were also shared--Penn Trust Properties proposed a mixed-use redevelopment project for the former Verizon Building and First National Bank Drive Thru sites, and a startup maker space, called 3rd Revolution, shared an interest in being part of any of the proposed uses.

During a March 2015 joint meeting of Council, Planning Commission and Redevelopment Authority (RDA), Borough representatives considered a number of priorities for the reuse of the former Verizon Building. These representatives ranked 1) the opportunity for advancing partnerships with community organizations and 2) consistency with adopted plans as the highest priorities for this planning process. Leading up to its May 4 meeting, Council considered the proposals that had been received as well as future uses for the site that would be most in line with these priorities.

Redevelopment Planning Process
On May 4, 2015, Council requested that the Planning Commission and Redevelopment Authority begin working to develop a redevelopment plan for the 200 block of South Allen Street.

Per the Pennsylvania Urban Redevelopment Law, three major steps must by undertaken by these ABC's:
  1. Certify a redevelopment area,
  2. Prepare a plan for the redevelopment area, and
  3. Prepare a redevelopment proposal for some or all of the redevelopment area.
Work related to preparing a certified redevelopment area for the 200 block of South Allen Street had begun in 2007, and was referred to as the Fairmount Civic District. In June 2015, the Planning Commission accepted a staff recommendation to prepare a smaller redevelopment area, to be called the Allen Street Civic District. The Planning Commission will work over the coming months to inventory this area and prepare goals for its redevelopment. The remaining extent of the proposed Fairmount Civic District will be studied by the Planning Commission at a later time.

To see more information about the redevelopment planning process, View Frequently Asked Questions.

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