The historic Bellefonte Armory has sat empty for 14 years. Long the armory for the Pennsylvania National Guard, the three buildings on Zion Road sit on a plot of land just over seven acres near the high school. After the National Guard moved to a new location in 2005, Bellefonte Borough bought the land in 2013 for $705,555.01.
The borough is considering using the services of Downtown Redevelopment Consultant, a group that has experience in marketing and repurposing historic properties for development, but is holding off on that for now to focus on the upcoming development of the waterfront property, said borough manager Ralph Stewart.
He said they want to see the waterfront property through closing and then evaluate where they are at with the armory.
Two of the buildings on the site are considered historic sites and cannot be torn down, according to Stewart. The administration building and stable building were built in 1930 and are considered colonial revival style architecture. They are constructed of brick and have slated, hipped roofs.
The administration building sits closer to Zion Road and may be an impediment to developers who look to use the land.
A possible option, according to Stewart, is to move the administration building from its current location.
“When we discussed that option with the Pennsylvania Historical Commission, they were open to that idea. They did say that along with that, they would like to have that building remain visible from Zion Road so they wouldn’t want anything in front of it,” said Steward.
He said it could be moved back or possibly alongside Parkview Boulevard, where it would be visible from Zion Road. The concrete brick building behind the stable is not considered a historic site.
The land is still for sale and is zoned commercial, and the borough hopes to be able to have the property on the tax roll. When the borough purchased the land in 2013, it outbid the Centre County government, which was considering using the land for government functions.
Stewart said they had a “For Sale” sign on the property, but took it down for the winter. He said it will go back up soon. After the waterfront property sale is closed, the borough council will consider working with Downtown Redevelopment Consultant on the property.