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Developer: Waterfront Project Will Begin ‘the Renaissance of Bellefonte’

by and on February 15, 2020 5:00 AM
Bellefonte, PA

Developer Tom Songer said the hotel, parking garage and condominiums that he and his business partner, Mark Morath, are planning for the Bellefonte waterfront area will match the historic aspect of Bellefonte as it “starts the renaissance of Bellefonte.”

“As you all know, Bellefonte is the county seat, so it is imperative that we do it right the first time. There is no second chance at this. Bellefonte is a very historic community and all the buildings that we build as we develop this site are going to be developed in the context of historic buildings,” said Songer. “The character of the building will look historic both inside and out.”

Morath said the hotel will have a national brand name attached to it that will be announced in a couple weeks and that he thinks people will “appreciate” it.

Songer said there will be an educational component to the buildings that will share information about Bellefonte so that visitors coming from outside the area get to know some of the history of the town. Songer said the group has worked with the borough, historical society and people in the community to get input on how the buildings can best fit into Bellefonte.

“We believe that our project is a community project that will be the beginning of the renaissance of Bellefonte," said Songer. “It will also be an opportunity to educate people about Bellefonte and the surrounding area, as we all know Centre County is a great place to live.”

Sharing plans for the hotel, Songer said although the materials have not been chosen yet, it is important that all sides of the building look good and that “they are going to look historic.”

“Our architect is trying to complement the historic buildings that currently exist in Bellefonte,” said Songer. On the second level of the hotel, Songer said, they will have a balcony for meetings and guest rooms will be on floors three to five. The parking garage will include store fronts on the first floor and will connect the hotel from the second level.

The third building will also have about 15,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor, said Songer. Above that, on floors two through five, one- and two-bedroom residential condos will be available.

Songer said all the buildings will be built with high-quality materials with an emphasis on green energy and said they are evaluating the use of solar panels.

Morath said the hotel will contain 80 guest rooms with four suites that overlook Talleyrand Park. He said the restaurant and lounge area will have 100 seats and outdoor seating. The second floor will have meeting and banquet facilities.

“Many, many people do farm to table. We certainly are going to do that as well,” said Morath. “With our menu, we have a wonderful opportunity to feature that from the standpoint of foods, but also beverages. Think about the local breweries, wineries, distillery and cidery. So we are looking at a delightful place just to go and be at for the restaurant and bar. So it will be fun.”

Songer said the promenade in front of the building along Spring Creek will serve all three buildings.

“When you walk along the promenade, it will be like walking in downtown Bellefonte, with continuous storefronts,” said Songer. “Everything will be integrated and interconnected. And we all know Bellefonte is a very walkable community, and when you are a guest at the hotel, you will be able to walk and patronize the other businesses that are in community.

“We have had a lot of positive input from a lot people throughout the area,” continued Songer. “Bellefonte is a delightful community.”

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Vincent Corso is writer for Town&Gown and the Centre County Gazette.
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