The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Montour County

February 26, 2013

Danville Business Association seeing unprecedented activity

(Continued)

‘Interest,’ ‘Potential’

With Old Forge Brewing Co.’s impending move, the Impressions building is for sale. “Various interested people have looked at it,” Wilson said. “The building has a lot of potential.”

Michael Kuziak, owner of the former Mulberry’s Restaurant on Mill Street, said there have been people interested in renting the building. He has been renovating the inside.

The former Wolf’s building, also on Mill Street, was recently sold. Wilson anticipates it will house a retail operation on the first floor and residential upstairs.

Strosser Architecture — the only architect downtown — designed the restoration and front entry of St. Joseph Church and is designing improvements at St. Joseph School. The firm is doing a design for Jack Metzer Volkswagen-Volvo, designed the new location of The English Garden in Riverside and has done residential projects in the Danville area.

Wilson said businesses are seeing opportunities — good reasons to stay in Danville — and are buying building.

“We have a strong economy here in Montour County which has helped us get through the recession a lot better than many other communities in the area,” he said.

The Cotner building — next to Century 21 — the Lemon A’Peel building and the Impressions building are being looked at in detail as part of Danville’s upper floor study. Wilson said he understood AB3 Block-by-Block Development of Harrisburg has completed studies of the Lemon A’Peel and Cotner buildings.

A study of the Impressions building should start in March. The buildings were identified as a representation of buildings in Danville by focus groups.

The study should show how the buildings can be used as architectural and financial models and how they could be renovated, he said. Those models can be adopted for other downtown buildings, he said.

Downtown residents drive business

The premise is people living downtown will spur more of a vibrant economy and drive the downtown to attract more businesses, Wilson said. “By having additional people in the downtown, we can attract the types of businesses surveys the last 10 to 15 years have indicated people would like to see,” he said.

Danville has the basics, including a pharmacy, two grocery stores, McWilliams Homecare and Uniform Shoppe and Beiter’s Department Store, Wilson said. “In terms of specialty retail, what we believe will help attract business is filling the upper floors with people who will likely spend money in the downtown,” he said.

Wilson said Danville has gotten the attention of people in and outside the region. “It certainly hasn’t hurt Danville has had a number of articles in national and international publications,” he said.

Last April, he and Penn State representatives presented a program at a national conference in Houston showing community organizations in a rural town and a metropolitan area making differences in economic and community development.

“We’re helping to create an environment and atmosphere where business expansions have gotten noticed and the attention of people in the area,” he said.

Other factors attracting business include Montour Area Recreation Commission establishing Danville as a destination, schools and their influence on people moving here or staying here and major employers, including Geisinger Medical Center, Merck and U.S. Gypsum, he said.

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