Documents for Download
|201 Liberty Redevelopment Whitepaper|
|Northern Pennsylvania Regional College Fact Sheet|
|201 Liberty Redevelopment Fact_Sheet|
|201 Liberty Redevelopment Project Agreement (Warren County)|
WARREN, Pennsylvania – The Warren County Board of Commissioners voted today to authorize a short-term loan of $450,000 to the Warren County Development Association (WCDA) as well as a $100,000 grant to assist with the purchase and redevelopment of the 201 Liberty Street building in downtown Warren known (formerly as the Warren National Bank Building) to house the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College (NPRC). This represents a firm commitment by the County Government to commercial redevelopment in the area, as well as making a permanent home for the NPRC so that it may grow and thrive in our community.
The NPRC was created by an act of the legislature, has dedicated state funding, and is meant to provide quality, affordable education and curriculum to areas lacking “comprehensive community college education and workforce development.” The college serves a nine-county region, will bring 15+ quality jobs to the region and will work with local employers and educational organizations to provide curriculum that addresses the local needs within the community. More information on the College and its course offerings and staff can be found online at regionalcollegepa.org.
The Board of Trustees, through their site-selection team, went through an exhaustive process reviewing eight different sites in multiple counties before selecting Warren County for its home. A team put together and coordinated by Jim Decker of the WCCBI, which included members from the Warren County School District, WCCBI, Community Foundation, Hi-Ed Council, County Commissioners, City of Warren and others pitched Warren County as an ideal place for the College. They were ultimately successful in securing Warren County as the chosen location in what can only be considered a great achievement for the community and the region.
After several months of planning and review, the original location, South Street School, was deemed not appropriate in the end for the project. Another search was carried out which included buildings that had been a part of the original search and the former Warren National Bank building at 201 Liberty Street in Warren was selected based on space and potential for expansion, location, the ability to renovate the building in short order, and ownership options and long-term occupancy.
In order to facilitate the purchase of the building, get renovations moving, and guarantee a December 1st occupancy for the Regional College at the 201 Liberty Property (they currently reside in the Jefferson Teahouse which is running out of space), it was requested by WCDA for assistance with the project in the form of a loan and grant. An agreement was drawn up by the County Solicitor with terms for a bridge loan to allow the WCDA time to finalize renovation plans and move forward with the project to be completed by the end of the year.
Commissioner Chairman Ben Kafferlin was very positive saying, “I can’t think of a more impactful project in recent history. I’m pleased to be asked to participate and look forward to the fruits of this cooperative partnership. I commend the City of Warren, the Warren County Development Association and the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional College for their commitment to making our shared vision a reality for the sake of our future and the quality of life of our citizens.”
The financing for the project will involve $640,000 of a $1 million RCAP grant from the state which had been lobbied for by the Commissioners office through their contacts in the State Legislature and the Governor’s office and granted to the City of Warren for redevelopment. This represents a massive investment by the state in Warren County and state tax dollars coming back to the community for redevelopment. The remainder of the project involves a $200,000 grant from the Community Foundation and an additional $500,000 grant from the Dart Foundation out of Michigan focused on the property at 201 Liberty Street.
“Essentially, as far as local tax dollars go, you are seeing a $100,000 investment by the county being matched by some grant funding and a $640,000 investment by the state to renovate an architectural hallmark of the downtown,” added Commissioner Eggleston. “We have many commercial buildings that need work, and in this case, we are taking an important building and essentially completely renovating it with state dollars and some outside foundation funding. There’s no better way to do it in my opinion.”
The renovations will involve a complete electrical overhaul of the building, new HVAC systems on every floor, updated plumbing and bathroom access, and upgrades to enable code compliance, ADA standards, and increased safety systems. This is not a single floor renovation but will make the facility itself attractive to other entities for occupancy. The renovations to the 5th floor, which will house the initial footprint for the NPRC, will amount to $437,000 of the total $1.4 million for renovation.
The project, once finalized in December, will provide over $600,000 in state investment in Warren County, the first major educational investment by the state in Warren County in several decades, the addition of a $1 million-plus payroll to the community at large, the revitalization of one of Warren County’s oldest and most treasured commercial properties, and the expansion of post-secondary education in Warren County and the region.
“The community should give itself a collective pat-on-the-back,” concluded Commissioner Eggleston, “this is a huge win for everyone and is the result of a lot of hard work by multiple people and entities all working in concert to secure a major investment by the state. Today, I am very proud of Warren County, its local governments, and the business community for their support and interest in this project.”
The vote to approve the agreement with WCDA was two Commissioners supporting, Kafferlin and Eggleston, and one opposed, Commissioner Morrison. The agreement is available online at warrencountypa.net along with several information documents for the community’s review.
Any questions for the Commissioners Office regarding the news story may be directed to Pam Matve, Chief Clerk, by phone at 814-728-3402 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.