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4,000 jobs closer to fruition as Logan Town Center gets permit

The $100 million Logan Town Centre project has cleared a very significant hurdle as it has received a state green light to proceed, according to Senator Robert Jubelirer, who led the push to secure the pivotal permit from the state Department of Enviornmental Protection.
“I received a call from the DEP secretary, Katie McGinty, confirming the permit,” Jubelier said yesterday. “This is a huge win for the area and our future. This project, at one point, verged on suffering death by regulatory review, so we stepped up our intervention to get a fair and responsible result. We made a convincing argument that our area, and Pennsylvania as a whole, could not afford to see thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic activity just vanish.”
The proposed Logan Town Centre will be anchored by Boscov’s, Home Depot and Barnes and Noble Bookstore.
“Logan Town Centre is a major milestone in making our community a destination rather than a point of departure,” said Jubelirer. “This is a perfect demonstration of how the many years of highway effort are now paying off for economically for us. The investment made by the array of blue-chip retailers who will be part of the Centre is a welcome demonstration of the marketability of the community and the confidence in growth to come.”
Greg Morris, one of the 25 partners involved in the project, said in a February interview with The Daily Herald that there is an expected 4,000 jobs that will need filled with completion of the project.
“We are expecting the average salary to be $25,000 per year for employees of Logan Town Centre,” said Morris. “If you multiply that by the 4,000 employees, that is $100 million annually in the economy. We have done studies for the economic spin off and shoppers are projected to travel to Altoona from an estimated 60-mile radius. The Altoona area will be known as the largest retail shopping area in all of Central Pennsylvania.”
Jubelirer also credited the work of Congressman Bill Shuster, who was instrumental in the coordinated effort to gain a corresponding federal permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Getting the necessary clearances from the federal and state agencies without missing key deadlines or losing valuable chunks of construction season required intensive advocacy,” said the senator. “The result has not been easily accomplished. The developer made significant concessions in the plans and substantial contributions to mitigation efforts in order to have this project happen. There frankly is the right balance here — the economy wins, but the enviornment does not lose.”
Upon completion of the project, Logan Town Centre will provide Logan Township with $150,500 of property taxes, the Altoona School District with $553,400 and Blair County would benefit with $296,100 annually. That is an annual tax base increase of $1 million.
The Logan Town Centre project was one of the first tests for the Rendell administration to job creation and economic development.
“In the end, the top officials within DEP and the administration recognized what this meant to us,” said Jubelirer. “They worked hard to turn around a defensible settlement and prodice a positive putcome. This action squares with what the governor and the DEP secretary said about how they would respond to opportunity. This provides encouragement that we can count on cooperation and support for job-creating projects in the months ahead.”
Jubelirer was quick to credit the developers of the project.
“Credit is deserved too by developer Greg Morris,” said Jubelirer. “He assembled a professional team and the determination he displayed in seeing this project through a difficult and time-consuming review process.”
Plans are for Logan Town Centre to be open for business in the Spring of 2004.