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Council approves bid for land

December 14, 2000

Council approves bid for land



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg Borough Council accepted a bid Wednesday night for the sale of a piece of land that will spur the development of the much debated Village on the Falling Spring project.

The Falling Water Partnership made an offer of $53,501 to purchase 3,000 square feet of property off King Street next to the Noelker and Hull architectural firm, said Borough Manager Eric Oyer.

The only other bid was from the Chambersburg Area Development Corp., which submitted a $25,000 offer.

According to Oyer, the land has a market value of $10,000 and a use value of $25,000.

"This is an attractive bid for this piece of property," he told the council.

The borough set several stipulations on the bid that will limit the scope and time of construction.

The buyer must build at least 5,000 square feet of office space and spend at least $400,000 on its construction. It must be used for office space unless otherwise authorized by the borough, the bid states.

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The bid goes on to specify that construction must begin in two years, 10 percent of the building must be completed in 2 1/2 years and the space must be occupied within four years.

Failure to meet any of the restrictions leads to default on the bid and the land reverts back to the county.

If the buyer can't obtain the necessary variances to build on the small plot in a year, the borough will refund their money, Oyer said.

"We want to bring people to downtown Chambersburg with this," he said.

The Village on the Falling Spring began as a private commercial development with public amenities and at one time included plans for two office buildings and had a price tag of more than $10 million in private and public funds.

The size of the project has changed during the last few years after one developer backed out, and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court reversed a 1999 land swap between the borough and the Chambersburg Area Development Corp. in January.

That swap included the property in the bid approved Wednesday.

Early on, the project had been designed by the Chambersburg Area Development Corp. to include two commercial buildings designed in a village concept with specialty shops and a park area in between.

The current plan is for public improvements along the confluence of the Falling Spring and Conococheague Creek including an enlarged park with a memorial to the borough's founder, Benjamin Chambers; a foot bridge across the creek to connect the park with the Rails to Trails project; improvements to Spring Street and some changes on the east side of North Main Street to Montgomery Alley. A $2 million grant in federal funds and $500,000 from the borough will fund the project.

Area veterans are working on proposals for the park and have until April submit their final suggestions, Oyer said.

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