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The times they are a changin'

by on December 27, 2018 10:01 AM

STATE COLLEGE — This fall, as Penn State alumni rolled into State College for football games and homecoming, they found a town that looks a lot different than they may remember.

State College has grown up, with many new buildings that opened this past year and ground broken on many more to come. There also have been some businesses with a rich history that closed in 2018, while some newcomers opened doors. All this leaves a town that is ever-changing.

The most literal big changes this past year have been two new high-rises that opened this fall, with three new ones that are under way. The 12-story Rise at State College and the seven-story Edge on Beaver Avenue started housing students this fall, joining the Fraser Center and The Metropolitan as newly developed high-rises.

The Rise, on the lot of the former Hooters restaurant and Kildare’s Irish Pub, is one of the first buildings people see coming into town from the Mount Nittany Expressway. The original plans for the building called for a grocery store to occupy a large part of the commercial space, but the store backed out. There have been no tenants announced for the commercial space as of yet. Meanwhile, the Edge is welcoming its first commercial tenant, Frutta Bowls, in February.

Big holes in the ground dominate the east side of downtown as a 12-story mixed-use development at Beaver Avenue and Garner Street, which will be home to the Penn State Hillel along with apartments and two stories of commercial use, began in the fall. The lot was formerly a parking lot and a bank, but that has been replaced with a bustling construction site. The date of occupancy on the project is fall 2020.

Nearby at 138 E. Beaver Ave., the apartment building that used to house a CVS on the first floor was demolished in the fall and construction began on the Pugh Centre, a 55-unit mixed-use building that was planned to be ready by fall 2019.

On the west side of downtown, businesses along College Avenue such as Zola’s Kitchen and Wine Bar and California Tortilla announced they would be closing to make way for The Standard, a 12-story, mixed-use building at College Avenue and Atherton Street, directly across from the Metropolitan. All the old buildings have been knocked down and construction is underway, causing some traffic issues at the busy intersection. Work looks to be complete by fall 2020.

There have been significant changes along College Avenue as well, with many favorite establishments closing or changing ownership. The former owner of the All-American Rathskeller filed a lawsuit after the bar reopened in July as Doggie's Rathskeller and Garden. The suit claimed that keeping the Rathskeller name, along with much of the same look and feel, was trading on the name and history of his business. A settlement was reached, and in September, the name was changed to Doggies Pub. Up above, the space that was home to Spats remains open and no future tenants have been announced.

Spats remains alive though, as owners Duke and Monica Gastiger along with Hotel State College operating partners Joe Shulman and John Cocolin announced that they reached an agreement last January to bring together Spats and the Allen Street Grill at the grill's location at College Avenue and Allen Street. Spats at the Grill debuted in May.

Down the road, local favorite Herwig’s Austrian Bistro closed in May. In its place came Snap Pizza over the summer. Nearby, the Fraser Street Deli closed in January and was replaced by Salud Juicery in May.

Another local favorite, Ye Olde College Diner, announced it would be closing in January as well. The Diner closed its doors for good in April, but its “world-famous stickies” live on as they remain in production at a new facility and are sold at many places around town.
Hello Bistro, a fast-casual restaurant that is part of the Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, will open in the location, but there is no timetable when that will happen. No construction appears to have been started on the building.

A Pittsburgh-area burger joint called BRGR, which specializes in gourmet burgers and handmade shakes, announced plans to open in the former bank building next door to The Diner. While announcing the move, BRGR said it hoped to be open in January 2019, but the interior of the building looks to be under very early stages of construction

In July, after 20 years, the Darkhorse Tavern closed in the Calder Ally. It was replaced with Jax Bar and Kitchen in late September.
And Indigo Nightclub on College Avenue changed its name to The Basement Night Spot and got itself a new look in the process.

Two corner buildings are experiencing change as Old State Clothing at Beaver and Allen closed this summer and the longtime store Moyers Jewelers at College and Allen is set to close Dec. 29 after 70 years.

 

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