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Sketch Plan Presented for Patton Crossing Development

by on February 14, 2019 4:45 PM

A sketch plan for the proposed Patton Crossing commercial and residential development was met with mostly positive feedback at Wednesday night's Patton Township Board of Supervisors meeting.

The project was much debated for more than a year after North Atherton Street Associates — led by developers Bob Poole, Ara Kervandjian and Heidi Nicholas — requested in 2017 rezoning of nearly 30 acres on the site of the former Penn State Mobile Home Park for mixed use. Township supervisors approved in July 2018 a new mixed-use zoning ordinance to be applied to the site.

That ordinance requires approval of a site master plan by the township, and the developers chose to first submit the sketch plan to gather further comment from the public and the township. Poole said that after incorporating feedback from the sketch plan, the goal is to complete a traffic study and submit a master plan by September.

The sketch plans include 15 buildings — a mix of residential, commercial and a hotel — as well as three parking structures, surface parking and a public gathering space. 

Public entrance and exit would be at North Atherton Street. Park Forest Village residents had expressed concerns about an original concept plan that called for access to and from Park Forest Avenue, but in the new sketch plan, that has become a gated access road only for CATA buses and emergency vehicles.

At the front of the property facing North Atherton Street are three commercial one-story commercial building. The 130-room, six-story hotel, meanwhile, is moved from the back of the property to near the center. Residents had previously said they were opposed to having a building that tall at the rear of the property adjacent to neighborhood homes.

Next to the hotel is a 1-acre public gathering space that could be used to host activities such as festivals. 

The plan also includes eight four-story buildings with one story of commercial and three of residential each, and two strictly commercial buildings. A plot with two of the mixed-use buildings near the rear of the site would have a courtyard area with the intention of restaurants on the lower level having open-air outdoor seating. That area also would have a landmark feature to be determined.

Each of the parking structures would have two levels and Poole said his group would work with the township to determine the optimal amount of parking spaces across the site.

Poole said the sketch plan was developed to incorporate requirements of the new mixed-use zoning ordinance as well as comments from the township, a citizens advisory committee created during the rezoning process and the public.

Most residents who spoke on Wednesday said they were appreciative that the developers took into account public feedback, including moving the hotel, creating more permeable surface, incorporating many trees, and creating an asymmetrical design that better matches the nature of neighboring Park Forest.

"I appreciate the fact the developers have taken to heart the feedback and have come to a compromise," said resident Karen Dabney, who served on the advisory committee. "...The asymmetrical plan is a better reflection of the surrounding neighborhood of Park Forest Village. It’s just more compatible than the highly structured, symmetrical original plan."

Dabney suggested the developers consider traffic-flow benefits of flipping the hotel to the opposite side. She also noted the plans include a number of trees and asked if they would consider maintaining some of the old-growth trees currently on the property. Poole said engineers are already looking into both.

Poole said he expects Patton Crossing will be built out in phases over 10 to 15 years, starting with the front section closest to Atherton Street. He said they already have an interested party for at least one of the commercial buildings in that section.

"We think demand will be pretty good and it will be a great project," Poole said.

Poole also said he, Kervandjian and Nicholas plan to build and own the hotel.

Image by North Atherton Street Associates via Patton Township

Image by North Atherton Street Associates via Patton Township



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