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Borough Council Approves Changes to Fraser Centre; Gets Update on Storm Damage

by on July 02, 2013 7:20 AM

Moving a step closer to construction on the long-awaited Fraser Centre, the State College Borough Council approved changes to the design plan at a public hearing Monday night.

Council gave tentative approval to a request to allow tenants access to additional off-site parking. Council also voted in favor of a request to raise the building's height, from 145 feet to 155 feet. Final approval for those changes is expected at the next council meeting, later this month.

According to developer Jack Kay, from Susquehanna Real Estate, the Fraser Centre is supposed to include a high-end hotel, retail shops, commercial offices and luxury housing. 

In May, Kay said construction on the Fraser Centre could begin by November. Council held a public hearing Monday night before voting to approve the amendment. 

It's been a long, difficult road for the proposed 250,000 square foot project that still isn't over. There was a forced redesign after plans for a movie theatre had to be scrapped. There were also delays while the developer worked to attract commitments from retailers and other potential tenants.

State College Public Works Director Mark Whitfield updated the council Monday night on the extent of damage from last week's flash flooding.

According to Whitfield, State College received nearly four inches of rain last week. That's more rain in a single week then we've seen since 1996. 

Whitfield provided new details about the wall collapse at Memorial Field, which forced the borough to close a section of Frasier Street.

The wall, which was supposed to be replaced, was being supported by steel bleachers. Once the steel bleachers were removed and the rain started, the pressure was too much for the wall which was originally built in 1930.

Whitfield says, "If any more of the street were to subside or collapse, it would take it almost to the center of the street."

The closure means Central Pennsylvania Festival will have to relocate some of the street vendors. The sidewalk on the west side of Fraser street will remain open to pedestrian traffic. Motorists will have to take Nittany Avenue instead of coming down Fraser Avenue. 

At Calder Way, a storm sewer sustained some damage. Whitfield says repairs will be made once the weather dries out.

A service facility on Corl Street flooded and generators were damaged, along with some material being stored inside. Public Works staff is making repairs.

A section of Garner Street was set to be paved today, but that was put on hold because of the severe weather. 

There was some flooding at the North Atherton Street bus terminal, and it dissipated "rather quickly," Whitfield says. State High also had some "routine flooding" in the basement.

There was also minor flooding at the Downtown Parking Office, and at Highland Alley behind the Alpha Fire Station. 

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Laura Nichols is a StateCollege.com news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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