State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Conditional Use Permit OK'd for Proposed High-Rise

by on July 18, 2017 10:38 AM

State College Borough Council on Monday approved the conditional use permit for The Residences at College and Atherton, marking the next step forward for the proposed 12-story high-rise downtown.

The 455,000 square-foot, mixed-use building has been under consideration since early this year and had three public hearings for the permit throughout the spring. It would occupy nearly the entire block of West College Avenue between South Burrowes Street and South Atherton Street, including the current sites of 312-338 W. College Ave. and 109-113 S. Atherton St.

The project, which would be built across from the new Metropolitan high-rise, is being developed by Collegiate Development Group (CDG) of St. Louis.

The building will include 47,050 square feet for commercial use on the first two levels and 278,689 square feet for residential use on the upper levels, with 247 residential units accommodating 745 bedrooms. The units will be a mix of five-, four-, three- and two-bedrooms, with 34 inclusionary housing units. Plans also call for a 129,261 square foot, underground parking facility. 

Conditions of the permit require the developer to pay for the creation of an air quality monitoring station on borough property. During the public hearings, concerns were raised by local resident and environmental consultant Mark Huncik, among others, about the downdraft pollution from Penn State's West Campus Steam Plant and how a building of the proposed size could impact pollution at ground level.

Reports from air quality experts commissioned by the developer concluded the air quality would remain within standards.

Building step-backs, which have been incorporated into the latest designs, were required to reduce what council members felt was a monolithic appearance.

The developer will be required to contribute to the cost of a proposed pedestrian control project to be built in coordination with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's improvement of the Atherton Street corridor.

As part of the conditional use permit process, the project has already undergone the preliminary plan stage. Borough Planning Director Ed LeClear said that as the developers move toward submission of a final plan, they are required to conduct a traffic impact study.

To have an appropriate traffic count, the borough requires the study be conducted when Penn State's fall or spring semesters are in session. LeClear said he expects the developer will begin the study in September or October.

The process will continue to unfold through the fall, LeClear said, though there is no timeline yet for when a final plan will be submitted.

The site of the project currently includes West College Realty, 312 W. College Ave,; California Tortilla, 322 W. College Ave.; Zola Kitchen and Wine Bar, 324 W. College Ave.; Golden Wok, 332 W. College Ave.; and two houses. Those buildings will be demolished for construction of the high-rise, but they will remain for the foreseeable future until a final plan is approved.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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