Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

After many days of rain, developer Greg Morris and his partners broke ground on the new $100 million Logan Town Centre project on a “Chamber of Commerce day” in Logan Township.
The new shopping center will bring an estimated 2,000 construction jobs, and when the project is complete, possibly 4,000 permanent jobs to Blair County.
When introducing the politicians on hand, Morris was thankful for the work put in by Congressman Bill Shuster and Senator Robert Jubelirer.
“Assembled behind me is an all-star team,” said Morris of the group of partners and politicians. “Without their help, what we started five years ago would not have happened.”
The final hurdle was acquiring the permit from the Army Corps of Engineers and Morris gave credit to Shuster for bringing home that permit.
“Logan Town Centre is the first of many things to happen up and down this corridor,” said the congressman. “I would have run up that dirt road and grabbed a shovel and started digging to be a part of this.”
The center is expected to be nearly one-mile long and will be serviced by an access road that will connect Frankstown Road and 17th Street. More than $1,000,000 in funding for the road project was announced by Shuster last month.
The anchor stores for what Morris calls “the largest shopping center between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia” are Boscov’s, The Home Depot and Barnes and Noble.
Morris also credited what he called the “800 pound gorilla” – Senator Robert Jubelirer – for his help in receiving the permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
“There are a number of turning points that could be cited, but certainly a pivotal one came when a DEP deputy got tired of seeing the log jams and paper work battles,” said Jubelirer. “This project means a lot of jobs, and a lot of economic activity, which is good, because it has been a world-class test of political stamina. There were times when it seemed that we had to move figurative mountains to be able to build at the foot of the real thing.”
Jubelirer pointed to common sense prevailing.
“As I said when the state permit was announced, this project win does not mean the environment loses,” said the senator. “You read the commentary of the opponents, and it is as if this project is taking out pristine old-growth forest, comparable to the last piece of the Amazonian rainforest. Make no mistake — this is no pave-over-paradise, blast and scar development. There is a multi-million dollar commitment toward environmental mitigation, and the regulators are intent on the funding being put toward measures that work.”
Morris thanked the many community leaders who wrote letters in support for the project to include the carpenters union. Morris announced that at least half of the 2,000 construction jobs associated with the project will be union jobs.
The annual payroll expected at Logan Town Centre is $100,000,000 and it is expected that the new center will bring in property taxes of $1 million annual to be split between the Altoona School District, Logan Township and Blair County.
Grannas Brothers Excavating has already started working on the project as it cleared a dirt road for the ceremony to take place.
As Morris wrapped up the ceremony before ground was broken, he referred back to the words of JFK.
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” Morris quoted. “This is how I was brought up. I have worked to do for my hometown and after many years of hard work, we finally made it to this day.”
Construction is expected to take a year and the Logan Town Centre is expected to welcome shoppers in 2004.

By Rick