Sports cen­ter, burger joint, farm-to-ta­ble spot: What’s next in county?

Centre Daily Times (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY SARAH PAEZ [email protected]­

Even though Cen­tre County lost some no­table, long­time busi­nesses last year, 2019 brings the an­tic­i­pated open­ings of sev­eral new busi­nesses.


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.


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 StateCol­ 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.


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 StateCol­ there was a pos­si­bil­ity they might open a restau­rant on the Gam­ble Mill prop­erty, but no plans have been sub­mit­ted pub­licly yet.


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.


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.


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.


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.

ABBY DREY [email protected]­

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.

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