Sports center, burger joint, farm-to-table spot: What’s next in county?
Even though Centre County lost some notable, longtime businesses last year, 2019 brings the anticipated openings of several new businesses.
WHERE ONE GIANT CLOSES, ANOTHER OPENS
A Giant food store will be opening at the previously vacant spot at Hills Plaza in College Township. And with that opening, the Giant store at 2222 E. College Ave. will close.
Giant Food is leasing 68,000 square feet at Hills Plaza, 2121 S. Atherton St., from Vita & Vita Reality Corporation. Construction for the new store began in October 2018.
The 80,000-square-foot former department store is getting divided and renovated into two stores and receiving areas, according to PA Business Central.
A new mansard, storefronts, loading docks, a parking lot, landscaping and energy efficient lighting are being added as improvements. A Starbucks is also reportedly planned.
The opening of a new Giant will be the first time a tenant has occupied Hills Plaza’s largest anchor store space since Ames closed in 2002, amid a mass closure of Ames stores due to corporation-wide bankruptcy.
BENNER RUNS ON DUNKIN’
A new Dunkin’ Donuts, located at 2780 Benner Pike in Benner Township, is opening for
business soon, Centre County Planning Director Robert Jacobs told the CDT last month.
The new Dunkin’ Donuts is 2,300 square feet with a drive-thru and full seating area. It will also employ about 30 to 40 people, franchisee Eric May of May Brands told StateCollege.com in September.
The Bellefonte location will be the sixth Dunkin’ Donuts franchise in Centre County and the first in the county outside of State College.
TAKING A ‘GAMBLE’ ON THE MILL
The Gamble Mill in Bellefonte has been the subject of much rumor and speculation over whether anything will occupy its historic walls. But brothers Jonathan and Chris Virgilio are planning to close on the property at the end of January, according to Belle- fonte Borough officials.
The brothers entered into a sales agreement for the former Gamble Mill property at 160 Dunlap St. in Bellefonte in June.
They were scheduled to close in late November, but there was a delay related to the property near the mill on which the former Bellefonte water works building sat.
Jonathan Virgilio, a math teacher at Bellefonte Area High School, told StateCollege.com there was a possibility they might open a restaurant on the Gamble Mill property, but no plans have been submitted publicly yet.
A RESOURCE FOR THE COMMUNITY
RE Farm Cafe, a brainchild of longtime State College area business owners Duke and Monica Gastiger, is set to open in March or April.
The concept behind RE Farm is a restaurant located on Windswept Farms in Patton Township, which the couple purchased in 2016, serving food sourced from the restaurant’s backyard and other local farms.
“Connecting people to the land and then to each other is the vision of our project,” Duke Gastiger said. Once the cafe opens, he said, patrons can look forward to a menu with variety.
“One evening a week we will offer a very special dinner feast of 16-20 delicious small plates ... the absolute best way for anyone to savor the freshness of Windswept and the creativity of RE’s chefs!” Gastiger said.
Windswept Farms community volunteers have put in nearly 3,000 hours of work, said Gastiger. The farm also has seven full and part-time workers to oversee the crops, greenhouse and hundreds of lambs, pigs, chickens and ducks.
Last year, the farm launched its own Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.
The Gastigers previously owned State College staples The All-American Rathskeller and Spats Cafe and Speakeasy, and are also trying their hand at incorporating local food into the menu at Spats at the Grill, a reimagining of the Allen Street Grill.
A LONG-AWAITED SPORTS CENTER
The Nittany Valley Sports Centre – five years in the making – is set to open in February, general manager Michael Lee told the CDT in November.
The 70,000-square-foot sports center will be located at the intersection of Fox Hill and Bernel roads in Patton Township.
Inside, the sports center will offer recreational and competitive sports activities for all ages, along with space for meetings, charity events and team-building seminars.
The year-round facility will have playing fields for soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, baseball, softball and flag football with youth and adult leagues for all skill levels, as well as early childhood development programs based around sports and summer camps.
Additionally, Centre Elite Gymnastics, Energy Rehabilitation and Training and Parisi Speed School, a national agility, strength and skills training organization, will be located inside.
A possible second phase of the center will include a large space for hosting tournaments and other large sporting events.
NOT YOUR GRANDMA’S BURGER
BRGR restaurant, a Pittsburgh-area chain owned and operated by the S+P Restaurant Group, is opening soon at 122 W. College Ave., the site of the former Citizens Bank building.
The eatery specializes in gourmet burgers and handmade shakes, and has four locations in Pittsburgh and one in Cranberry.
Patrons can order one of the restaurant’s signature burgers or craft their own from a long list of toppings, including mushrooms and peanut butter.
The menu also features a variety of other dishes, like salads, tacos, fried pickles, bacon mac n’ cheese and short rib grilled cheese.
BELLEFONTE TAKES THE CAKE
The Cakery, a cake and baked goods shop, is coming to a storefront in Bellefonte this March.
Melissa Stitzer, owner, told the CDT in September that she is moving her catering business to 135 W. High St. in Bellefonte, the former location of Bone Bar and Boutique.
The Cakery will feature retail cakes and pastries, custom orders for any occasion and in-house consultations.
Stitzer said she plans to sell individual cupcakes, cookies, European pastries and full cakes. Everything she sells individually will also be available in multiples.
The store will have parttime hours when it first opens, and eventually move to operating five days a week, Stitzer said.
Renovations are taking place for the new Giant in Hills Plaza on Friday. The opening of the Giant will be the first time a tenant has occupied Hills Plaza’s largest anchor store space since Ames closed in 2002, amid a mass closure of Ames stores because of bankruptcy.