The Titusville Redevelopment Authority recently received the Pennsylvania Association of Housing and Redevelopment Agencies (PAHRA) 2012 Bellamy Best Practices Award for Redevelopment and Community Development for the Titusville Towne Square Project, during the annual PAHRA conference in Lancaster. The award is given to the agency best demonstrating excellent work to provide improvement to local communities.
“It’s certainly an honor to receive this award again,” commented Jim Becker, executive director of the Titusville Community Development Agencies. “We have been incredibly fortunate to have partners at the local and state level who believe in our projects and back up that belief with funding to make the projects happen.”
The Towne Square project began in 1997 when the city asked the Authority if they could do something about the deterioration of the empty central downtown buildings. The Authority purchased the buildings and began the long process of saving these historical buildings that once were the center of the Oil Boom era. Prestigious entrepreneurs such as Joseph Pew, who started the Sun Oil Company that later became the more familiar Sunoco, once occupied offices in these buildings. The famous Oil Boom photographer John Mather redesigned the Thompson building to meet his lighting needs after if burned down in 1866. If you see an old photo of the first oil wells in Titusville, undoubtedly it is a Mather print. Allowing such buildings to deteriorate and be torn down was not an acceptable option to the Authority regardless of what it took to renovate them.
The last phase of the Towne Square project included the complete renovation of the second and third floors of the Towne Square building, formerly the Cohen Building, Thompson Building and the Sister’s Shoppe. This final phase of construction completed the renovations of eight office incubators and three office suites on the second floor, six office suites on the third floor and the Towne Square Conference Center and Authority offices on the fourth floor. The four-story downtown complex now houses five new businesses on the upper floors and The Blue Canoe, a brewpub and restaurant, on the first floor.
The Authority is grateful to its partners in this project. They include the Governor’s Action Team, The PA Department of Community and Economic Development, Local Banks, City of Titusville and Towne Square Tenants.
The Towne Square project competed against eight finalists including projects from Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver counties and Philadelphia for top project honors.
“Two years ago, we received the award for the J. Michael Allyn Industrial Complex as well,” Becker continued. “Completing these two latest projects; renovating older blighted heavy manufacturing facilities into a state-of the art multitenant facility and creating a true anchor building in our commercial district, we believe are game-changers for the community; projects that make a 50-year impact in our town. We truly believe this is just another example of Titusville being recognized as a community rooted in entrepreneur spirit, not only with visions of the future, but also with the resourcefulness and expertise to achieve.”
Read more in the December 2013 Business Magazine