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New mill owners select architects, continue work

by on December 07, 2017 9:40 AM

BELLEFONTE — The new prospective owners of The Inn at Lamb’s Mill, formerly the Gamble Mill, said they have been busy mapping out their plans for the 123-year-old building and have a number of changes in store.

Shauna McClure told the Gazette she and partner Gary Werkheiser have contracted the architecture firm Albertin Vernon, of Loganton, after a comprehensive search for a firm that shared their vision. McClure said they have already produced some conceptual design plans and are moving forward.

“The building poses many challenges with elevations and ADA considerations, but we remain confident that these issues can be resolved,” she said. “We continue to receive tremendous support from the community and local officials.”

Another hurdle could be the reduction or elimination of the Historic Tax Credit program due to the federal tax reform bills passed by Congress. McClure said she was not sure as of Dec. 4 what the effect of either the passed House and Senate bills would be. She said it was not necessarily a deal breaker, but the historic tax credits could be as much as 20 percent of their budget.

The owners also are looking at the possibility of using hydroelectric power, an investment McClure said could help achieve the goal of being carbon-positive and making the building as green as possible.

They are thinking of changing the previous large restaurant space into a dynamic lobby area with perhaps a coffee bar during the day that will change over to a cocktail bar in the evening.

She said they are planning to move the kitchen into the basement as well, and that it is going to be “a huge undertaking.”

There are other architectural considerations, such as an arch that has previously been hidden that sat atop an area where horses and wagons would make or pick up deliveries. She said they hoped to expose the arch and use glass to protect it.

McClure said a critical part of the plan involves some of the property along the newly constructed waterfront area, and the two developers are currently working on that deal. The option on the property was given priority to the previous buyer, according to past Bellefonte Borough staff statements.

After the previous deal was called off, a sign advertising the property went up in the large open green space along Spring Creek.
The last the public heard about the project was in an announcement from Werkheiser and McClure in September, when they announced their intent to buy the property and outlined their plans.

They want to create a luxury boutique hotel with 12 to 14 rooms and restaurant, as well as revive the brewery.

The new name is closer to one of the building’s old monikers, Lamb’s Mill. The original building was constructed in 1786. That burned in 1894 and was rebuilt two years later. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The structure spans 17,000 square feet and 5 1/2 stories, and McClure said they are looking at the idea of some rooftop dining.

“Our focus is to create an unforgettable dining and lodging experience with exceptional old-world service, thoroughly modern amenities and memorable fine dining,” the developers said in a statement. “We seek to redefine luxury, believing that luxury is personalized service. We believe it’s about having a clear sense of community and place. It’s about attention to detail and craftsmanship. It’s having a story to tell and offering travelers a more authentic, genuine experience that relies heavily on the human element and less on brands and labels.”

The property is still making its way through bankruptcy court and still in the name of Dunlop Street LLC, but McClure said creditors are not objecting to the process.

The previous owners closed the doors of the restaurant and brewery in 2015. The property and liquor license has been making its way through bankruptcy court ever since.

Borough officials had hoped Marion Bradley, under the name MBPM Holdings, would purchase the property, but Bradley backed out of the deal in July.

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