Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
Minutes of Past Meetings


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Monday, April 24, 2013

Location: Home of Dick & JoAnn Knupp, 441 N. Spring Street, Bellefonte

Keith Koch (president), Jim Dunne (Secretary), Dave Eggler (Treasurer) JoAnn Knupp, Dick Knupp, True Fisher, Gay Dunne, Sally Houser, Joann Tosti-Vasey, Colina Seeley, Nancy Miller

Garman Opera House:
The Hughes Engineering report on the Garman Opera House structural engineering was discussed. The report suggested three options for restoration:

Option No 1 Demolish entire building but leave front facade up and build on lot, parking behind.
     This would involve demolition of the building plus filling in the basement and installing several retaining walls as to not jeopardize adjacent buildings. A steel frame would be attached behind the front fa├žade to act as a permanent brace, and the lot would be asphalted and stripped to allow 20 vehicles with access from the alley:
Demolition $50,000
Backfill $20,000
Asphalt $60,000
Structural bracing and footings $75,000
Engineering $10,000
Misc $10,000
Total $225,000

Option No 2 Demolish the rear 70 feet and save front 40 feet of the building and maintain the three apartments, the restaurant and make two offices on the first floor plus establish 12 parking spaces in new lot in the rear:
Demolition $25,000
Backfill $10,000
Asphalt $30,000
Enclosing back elevation $70,000
Relocating elevator in new tower $50,000
Clean, paint three apartments $15,000
Miscellaneous $50,000
Structural walls $50,000
Repair front roof $20,000
Engineering $20,000
HVAC/Electrical $30,000
Moisture/mold remediation $10,000
Total $380,000

Option No 3 Restore building including the third floor motel rooms, the basement restaurant, the theatre and the three apartments above the front facade:
Third floor 3,700 sq ft
Second floor 2,200 sq ft
Theatre 3,000 sq ft
Restaurant 1,500 sq ft
Total 10,400 sq ft
Total cost 10,400 @ $125/ sq ft = $1.3 million

This cost above would include Architectural Engineering fees and permits. I would like to emphasize that the above is a general schematic of the various options, and the approximate cost within 20%. The water remediation is included in the numbers. Option No 1 would only take three months whereas Option No 2 and No 3 would take the better part of a year. The last two options require extensive architectural drawings and permits, whereas the first option requires very little such as a storm water permit and a demolition plan. Option No 3 does not address parking for either the three apartments or twelve motel rooms. Furthermore, the purchase price of the property was not included.


Gary Hoover presented his thoughts by email:

"Option one is the cheapest, but it saves nothing except the facade. It increases parking and prevents other use of the lot. In the future, the facade may be in jeopardy as it would be easy and inexpensive to tear it down and turn the parking lot behind it to other use.

Option two really isn't that much more expensive than option one for a significant increase in what is saved. However, it appears to do away with the theater and replaces it with 1st floor offices. That saves the facade, makes the building useful and keeps it more commercial in use than the presumptive buyer's announced housing plans. However, the theater would be gone and that would probably eliminate or greatly reduce any donations for preservation by removing the main purpose for which a non-profit would want to operate it.

Option three would be great--but it is probably cost prohibitive.

If those are the only choices, I like option two the best. Perhaps the first floor plans could include a more modest community meeting and entertainment space that would keep as many Garman theater historical and architectural features as possible. Perhaps instead of offices the first floor could have some commercial space for shops or an expansion of the restaurant."

We discussed all options.

No one favored option 1.

Option 2 is a practical option.

Option 3 was favored, but there was expressed concern that we could not assemble the resources, both financial and personnel, and that income from the rental of apartments and/or hotel rooms, restaurant space and theater would not be sufficient to cover expenses.

Colina moved and Jim seconded a motion to send a letter to the IDA presenting options 2 and 3. The motion passed with 11 yea and 1 nay votes. JoAnn Knupp and Joanne Tosti-Vasey will compose the letter and circulate to regular BHCA members for review.

Jim Dunne, Secretary