ABCD scores funding designed to further future Tyrone hotel plans

Altoona Blair County Development Corporation executive vice-president, Patrick Miller confirmed yesterday that funding has been secured for the predevelopment aspects of a site for a possible downtown Tyrone hotel.
Miller said the Pennsylvania Financing Authority met last week and approved the funding for $33,100 through the Business in Our Sites program. He said ABCD is working with Tyrone Borough on predevelopment issues.
The proposed hotel site is located in the 900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, but many things must still take place to have such a location “shovel- ready” for a developer to build on it.
Miller noted three predevelopment aspects for which the funding will be used.
First, certified appraisals will have to be completed to determine the fair market value of the properties. Miller said that was important because if the project moves to the acquisition of structures located at the proposed site, state funding will only pay up to the fair market value for those properties.
Secondly, an environmental investigation would need to be made of the properties.
Miller said due to the age and condition of the properties, a determination would need to be made about issues such as lead-based paint and asbestos. He said such issues would have to be mitigated for the project to move forward.
Finally, an engineer would need to assess water, sewer, utilities and transportation concerns and determine what if any improvements are needed. Miller said ABCD is expected to work with the borough’s engineer on those issues.
Last year, Tyrone Borough Council decided to seek $650,000 through the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development’s Housing and Rehabilitation Assistance program for the purpose of acquisition and demolition of the targeted properties. The borough still needs to acquire the funding and win the agreement of the affected owners to sell their property before the project can move forward.
If those funds are approved, ABCD is expected to apply for more funding through the Business in Our Sites program to complete the predevelopment aspects including acquisition, demolition and additional site preparation.
Miller said he is awaiting the actual paperwork for the $33,100. He indicated past state grant money from other programs typically had to be used within a 24-month period. However, since the Business in Our Sites program is new, he wasn’t sure how much time would be allowed for use of the funding.