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Fraser Centre Construction Could Begin in November, Major Hotel Chain Added to Project

By: Laura Nichols

Construction on the long-awaited Fraser Centre could begin as soon as November and a national hotel chain has been added to the project. That’s what Jack Kay, president and CEO of Susquehanna Real Estate, told the State College Borough Council at a Monday night work session. Once work begins the Fraser Centre would be completed within 22 months.

Kay, the developer, said financing for the Fraser Centre has been secured and all that’s left is to win approval from borough council. On May 20, Kay will request zoning modifications, which will allow the project to move forward.

The project has been on hold for years. Penn State pulled its commitment to become a tenant more than a year ago, which caused additional delays. The original concept included a movie theater which was cancelled.

Kay said he could not reveal the name of the hotel or any of the retailers who have signed on.

The hotel and retailers will independently announce their commitment to the Fraser Centre. Kay believes the downtown market is ready for another hotel, and that the one moving into the Fraser Centre would be the only “national flagship hotel” in the downtown.

The change of plans require some alterations to the project:

  • Creating a driveway entry for hotel guests and condominiums owners from Beaver Avenue
  • Adding 10 feet of height to a new proposed limit of 155 feet and eliminating the restriction on the number of floors within that limit
  • Allowing limited parking to serve the major commercial use within the building’s garage
  • Removing the borough’s right to re-purchase the site. In December 2011, Susquehanna Real Estate paid its remaining balance of $1.8 million to the borough, which paid in full the $3.275 million cost of the land on the corner of Fraser Street and Beaver Avenue.

Kay said the condominiums will not be marketed or sold as student housing and the developers plan to provide on-site parking for residents.

Ideally, ground will be broken before it gets too cold in the fall, Gary Brandeis of Real Estate Capital Management LLC and an equity partner in the project said.

The 250,000 square foot project will also include commercial offices and underground parking, Kay said, adding that he believes the design changes will “help accomplish the objectives set for the project in the first place.”

Some council members were pleased to hear the good news.

“We’ve certainly come a long way. I think this is more a realistic project than where we started, absolutely,” Council President Don Hahn said.

Read more about the Fraser Centre’s formerly uncertain future here.

Council did not take any action Monday night since the meeting was a work session.

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