Despite the Pandemic and economic factors, development in Downtown State College is still going strong. In recent years, State College Downtown development has taken a turn upward, more high rises especially. Another building proposal is across the street from the Borough building on South Allen Street — the Town Centre Project.
Ten years ago, the Borough opened up to developers adding more floors residential space if there was retail and office space include on the first two floors. A recent report says there’s now 83,000 square feet in vacant retail space Downtown — just in buildings built in the past seven years.
The Borough has also brought in consultants on filling Downtown business vacancies. One recommendation from their report: hire a Retail Advocate to focus on retention and recruitment. It’s just one part of development here, borough council is also continuing reworking and refining zoning ordinances.
One idea that continues to generate talk: a pedestrian plaza on South Allen Street, similar to what’s done during the Summer Arts Festival — shut off a portion of Allen Street to vehicular traffic. In 2020, Borough Council approved a 3 to 4 month pilot project — Summers on Allen. But after several businesses filed suit against the idea, COVID hit. There was never a Court Hearing, and the project was dropped.