Hollidaysburg building purchased, to be updated


HOLLIDAYSBURG — A local downtown landmark will be coming back to life thanks to a state grant that will enable its owner to transform the unused structure into commercial space.

The project to revitalize the former First United Methodist Church, also known as the O.K. Stuckey & Son building at 400 Allegheny St., is one of 34 projects in 22 counties to receive part of $6 million in Keystone Communities Program grants, according to an announcement Monday by Gov. Tom Wolf.

The Altoona Blair County Development Corporation is receiving a $500,000 grant to help turn the building, which has been out of use since the early 1980s, into a mixed-use commercial facility.

“We are excited to be a part of this project and our role in facilitating the Keystone Communities grant to loan program to support the redevelopment of this anchor building in historic downtown Hollidaysburg,” said Matthew Fox, ABCD’s director of business expansion.

J.J. Keller Family Partnership, composed of Joseph Keller, his wife, Joan, and son, Jared Keller, bought the building in September from Hollidaysburg Downtown Development LLC.

Plans for the project are still being finalized but Joseph Keller, president of Keller Engineers Inc., said he hopes the building will house some local vendors, office space and possibly a restaurant.

“This was our son’s vision, we want to generate more traffic into downtown Hollidaysburg,” Joseph Keller said.

Two other area projects were also selected for grants.

Philipsburg Revitalization Corporation will receive $23,280 for the renovation of a two-story brick building located at North Front Street in the historic downtown district of Philipsburg and Downtown DuBois Inc. will receive $50,000 to continue the facade program, which improves downtown DuBois by offering grants to businesses and property owners.

“The Keystone Communities Program supports towns and cities with initiatives that grow and stabilize neighborhoods and encourage partnerships between the public and private sectors,” Wolf said in a statement. “My administration is proud to support these projects that will build stronger communities, attract new residents and businesses and boost our economy.”

Since January 2015, the Wolf Administration has approved approximately $38 million through the Keystone Communities program to fund 247 projects statewide, including facade grants for businesses, accessible housing projects, public infrastructure improvements, and other projects to strengthen communities and downtown districts. The Department of Community and Economic Development administers the program.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 814-946-7467.

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