Final Plans Moving Forward for New Apartment Building on Days Inn Site in State College – Statecollege.com

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A design rendering shows Core Spaces’ planned six-story apartment building as viewed from the corner of South Pugh Street and Highland Alley.
A proposed student apartment building that would replace the Days Inn Penn State in State College took another step forward with a final review of land development plans by the borough planning commission last week.
After addressing items in the borough review letter and acquiring permits, Chicago-based developer Core Spaces tentatively anticipates beginning demolition of the existing building at 240 S. Pugh St. and construction of the new complex in June, senior vice president of development Jonathan Kubow said. Construction is expected to take about two years.
The Days Inn and the attached Brewsky’s Bottle Shop, which are owned by Centre Hotel Associates and operated by State College-based Hospitality Asset Management Company (HAMCO), are expected to remain open through February, depending on when the sale of the property is finalized, HAMCO chief operating officer Edward Tubbs said in November. Mad Mex, which leased its restaurant space in the building, closed on Nov. 28.
The Pugh Street hotel has been affiliated with Days Inn since 1989 after decades of operating as a Sheraton.
Core Spaces submitted preliminary plans for the new building in August, as first reported by StateCollege.com, and delivered a final land development plan to the borough in late November.
The new six-story, 65-foot tall building will have 160 apartments ranging from one to five bedrooms each with a total of 489 bedrooms. Two-bedroom units are specifically designed to have occupancy for four people, Jeff Zelisko, of project architect Antunovich Associates, said.
“Each of these bedrooms are very specifically designed to provide space for two people but the spaces are also separated so they have privacy,” Zelisko said.
At ground level along the East Foster Avenue side of the building are seven duplex-style units, ranging from three to five bedrooms, which have direct access.
Core Spaces will pay to the borough a fee in lieu of the 16 required affordable housing units. Kubow said a quarter to a third of the building will have “price-sensitive apartments,” with rates discounted by 10 to 25%.
The exterior of the building will be dark brown brick, a factory finished insulated panel system in gray and white and a perforated metal panel system. The main entrance will be along Highland Alley, with a promenade and short-term parking spaces in front of the lobby.
Vehicles will enter the property via Highland Alley, with 63 ground-level parking space located along A Alley and 194 underground spaces.
The parking facility will have two electrical vehicle charging stations and 160 bicycle spaces. About a dozen temporary bicycle spaces will be located outside the building, and Kubow said Core Spaces is exploring addition of an on-site bike share program.
“This is one of the first larger buildings that has come in with what I consider an adequate number of bicycle parking spaces,” planning commission member Jon Eich said. “It’s a very high demand amenity in this community.”
The property will have more than 25% open space, well in excess of the required 5%, with public and private terraces. The roof includes 4,350 square feet of green roof space, which contributes to the stormwater management plan for the building.
The first floor plan includes a fitness center, lobby, leasing office and “amenity terrace.” The property is zoned commercial and does not that require retail or office space be incorporated.
The sixth floor plan includes a pool, hot tub and terrace.
Barry Howard, Core Spaces chief sustainability officer, outlined the company’s environmental initiatives for its buildings.
“It’s really focused on integrating into each of the communities we’re in,” Howard said. “There’s kind of a general theme of sustainability. For me it’s water, utility usage, use of chemicals and things that are good for wellness, but then we tailor that to each individual market.”
The sustainability program includes high-efficiency mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. Internal systems track building waste, water, electrical and gas usage, with the data used to make ongoing adjustments for reductions.
A program expected to be put in place across all Core Spaces properties in the next two years will provide tenants with real-time data about their carbon footprint and at the end of the year they will have the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets.
Native, ecologically-focused landscaping will be used for the exterior of the property, and Howard said he visited the Arboretum at Penn State to develop ideas for the Pugh Street building’s plantings.
Once construction of the building begins, the Pugh Street sidewalk will remain open, but Core Spaces expects the Foster Avenue sidewalk to be closed.
Core Spaces has been expanding its State College presence since 2019. That year it acquired five downtown apartment buildings in the Beaver Canyon area for $102 million and in early 2021 it purchased Park Hill apartments for $23 million. In the fall of 2021, the company began construction on a new 12-story residential and commercial building at the corner of East College Avenue and Hetzel Street.
Since acquiring the Beaver Canyon and Park Hill properties, Core Spaces has performed extensive renovations.
“We’re really proud of those two projects,” Kubow said.
Howard added that sustainability upgrades have been a part of those renovations.
“We love what we’ve done at our Canyon properties where we’ve done quite a bit of electrical and plumbing efficiency efforts,” he said. “So that’s really seen that we can do a really good impact in terms of the State College market. What we’re looking to do here at the Days Inn location is a similar thing but a new development we get a little bit more runway because it is new construction.”

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