Gamble Mill coming back to life soon on Bellefonte waterfront
BELLEFONTE — The dormant Gamble Mill restaurant in Bellefonte is getting new life as the closing on the sale of the former grist mill nears.
Bellefonte Borough manager Ralph Stewart confirmed this week that a closing date of Wednesday, April 26, has been set for MBPM Holdings to purchase the property.
“This, because of bankruptcy proceedings and issues involving the liquor license, has taken years to work through, but it seems the time has finally come,” Stewart said. “Several closing dates have been set and then cancelled, but this one looks pretty solid. I think it’s finally going to get done this time.”
The Gazette attempted to contact Marian Bradley of MBPM, but she did not return messages by press time.
The historic grist mill was built in 1894 and ceased grinding grain in 1947. Most recently, it housed an upscale restaurant, which was owned and operated by Dave Fonash and Paul Kendeffy. In 2015, the pair closed the doors on the Gamble Mill to pursue other interests.
The building has sat empty since then.
“We’re very positive and very optimistic about this project, especially now that it’s moving forward again,” said Stewart. “There are just a few small things that need to be taken care of, and if everything goes OK with the closing next week, they’ll (MBPM Holdings) be ready to bring their design team in and get going.”
Stewart said the group plans to put the project on the “fast track” and be open by the end of 2017 or early 2018.
“Everyone worked really hard to get this project to where it’s at,” said Stewart. “We’re all very excited to see the Gamble Mill come back to life in Bellefonte.”
Gary Hoover, executive director of the Bellefonte Intervalley Area Chamber of Commerce, shared Stewart’s enthusiasm for the project.
“The Gamble Mill is one of the most recognizable, not to mention most historic, sites in Bellefonte,” said Hoover. “When I learned things were moving forward, I just had to smile. A beautiful building like that shouldn’t sit empty. I’m glad it will be used again.”
PLANS FOR SITE
Hoover said the new developers plan to open a restaurant and establish a microbrewery at the rear of the site. He also said the developers also talked about making improvements to the waterfront near the building.
“It seems like they have a lot of good plans,” said Hoover.
The Gamble Mill is also known as Lamb Mill, Thomas Mill, Wagner Mill and Bellefonte Flouring Mill. The 3 1/2-story brick building features a limestone foundation and includes two one-story brick additions. It also features a stepped gable with a full gabled attic.
The building replaced a mill built on the site in 1786. The original building was destroyed by fire in 1892.
The Gamble Mill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and is located in the Bellefonte Historic District. The restoration of the mill has won several state awards.