College Township Considers Consolidation for Hilltop Property, Former Track and Trail Site and Other Lots
The Hilltop Mobile Home site has sat vacant since February 2013, but a recent move to consolidate the eight lots that are owned by 1275 East Pennsylvania Ave I, LP could mean that a plan for the property could be coming soon.
The Honda Track and Trail, Battery Outlet and Budget Truck Rental buildings that are on College Avenue were sold to 1275 East Pennsylvania Ave I, LP in October and are vacant. There are also four lots behind those locations.
The consolidation looks to combine all those lots with the mobile home site into one lot. The College Township planning commission discussed the consolidation at its July 2 meeting.
The consolidation will be slated to be voted on by the township supervisors after the board also reviews and comments on the plan, said township manager Adam Brumbaugh.
When the property was first sold, zoning for the area was changed to “Gateway Commercial,” with a portion furthest away from College Avenue zoned as open space for recreation and conservation. Formerly the land was zoned for commercial and for mobile home park use. Gateway Commercial limits the residential aspect of the property to be no more than 30 percent.
Brumbaugh said he speculated that the consolidation is to help ease some of the density restrictions that are caused by the Gateway Commercial zoning and the open space area.
All this could mean plans are coming down the pike if the consolidation is approved.
“There have been a variety of different proposals that we have entertained quite informally from the ownership," Brumbaugh said. "One of the things that recently transpired was that there was a zoning determination letter that was issued by our zoning officer with respect to density calculation on the properties. The zoning determination letter dealt with the open space district and the fact that open space district was not eligible to be considered for the purpose of calculating density for the remainder of the Gateway Commercial site. … I suspect that a way to deal with what we perceive to be some density restrictions with that open space parcel, the lot consolidation appears to be an avenue to try and address that.
"At this point in time we have no submissions, so it would be speculation on my part about what we might be dealing with, but I suspect that it has to deal with those density restrictions. It appears that that restriction may have prevented the developer or the owner from moving forward with some plans they may be considering.
“I think it paves the way for the developer-owner to do something with the property,” he said.
Plans for the Riverview Office Bank project on College Avenue and Squirrel Drive that were submitted to the township early this year and are waiting final review would be affected by the lot consolidation.
“Should the lot consolidation go forward, that plan will either need to be withdrawn, it becomes moot or it will need to be moved to be denied because it no longer matches up with in terms of the parcels,” said Brumbaugh. It could be resubmitted with the new information from the lot consolidation in the future.
“With those four smaller lots, and you have set backs with each of those, they are pretty much useless in their current configuration,” said township planning director Don Franson.
1275 East Pennsylvania Ave I LP, out of Montoursville, is managed by Gregory Welteroth. On the Welteroth Property Group webpage, the Hilltop Mobile Home Park property is listed as available for lease. The 32-acre property at 1275 E. Pennsylvania Ave. is listed as Gateway Commercial property type, with amenities including its location only a mile from Penn State University and Beaver Stadium, immediately off of Interstate 322, adjacent to multiple hotels, restaurants and local businesses, directly adjacent to Thompson Woods Preserve and Walnut Spring Park, with views of Happy Valley and beyond.
Another nearby vacant building, The Autoport, 1405 S. Atherton St. in State College, is also listed on the Welteroth Property Group webpage as an available restaurant, with 3.85 acres of property including an 8,112-square-foot restaurant, an 8,000-square-foot basement and a 2,500-square-foot patio area. Recently crews were spotted clearing out old furniture and memorabilia from The Autoport property, but State College Borough officials said no plans have been submitted for the property.
A call to Welteroth was not returned.
Honda Track and Trail moved from its East College Avenue location to Spring Mills in 2018. Photo by Geoff Rushton/StateCollege.com