LEWISBURG — Two tracts of downtown Lewisburg real estate changed hands last week. The property at the northwest corner of Market and North Third streets, long the subject of local rumor, included the site of a CVS Pharmacy expected to close soon in favor of a consolidated location at PennHouse Commons, East Buffalo Township.
Documents filed with the Union County recorder of deeds indicated the transfer from JWM Limited Partnership and Moore Enterprises Inc. to G. Peck Holdings LLC. Actual consideration was listed at $1.25 million, with cash consideration of $1 listed on the deed.
The future of the property was among the topics discussed during a walking tour of the Lewisburg Historic District hosted by the Historical and Architecture Review Board (HARB). Linda Sterling, Lewisburg Downtown Partnership executive director confirmed the transfer and noted that the CVS would close by the end of the month.
“We really tried everything we could to have (input) into the decision, but it was a corporate decision, one following a corporate model where CVS(s) across the nation are moving out of rented spaces and moving into free standing spaces that they built on their own.”
Sterling credited the new owner, Gary Peck, for his experience with other properties, but could not be specific about the future for the soon to be vacated property. Peck owns properties which include a plaza near Milton, site of a Tractor Supply Co. and Ben Franklin retail stores.
“He’s got really good contacts,” she added. “I’m hopeful he is going to be able to pull in a project that we’ve been working on for a really long time.”
With another major draw for downtown also possibly moving to PennHouse Commons, Sterling added that a letter writing campaign to keep the state Wine and Spirit store in downtown has attracted the attention of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board executive director.
The HARB tour began on Market Street and included a look at the outside of the Barnes and Noble Bucknell University Bookstore. Though retaining a traditional look, it was not initially envisioned as a reclamation project, noted Phoebe Faden, HARB chair.
“When Bucknell originally came, their original intention was to tear down the entire building and to rebuild it in the style of its original structure,” Faden said of 1850 era building once at the site. “Granted, their drawings were beautiful and I’m sure would have been lovely if they would had taken the time to do it properly.”
Faden added that the dirt and traffic congestion from tearing down a large building could have been problematic in the downtown area.
“Retrofitting a building versus building new construction is often more difficult,” Faden said. “But we felt in this instance that we (preferred) them to work with the existing structure, which they have done a phenomenal job of.”
Faden credited the university for taking the best course.
Ted Strosser, council member and HARB member, noted that the university was eligible for a 25 percent federal tax credit for the project that involved a private developer in a public/private partnership.
The HARB tour, in recognition of Preservation Month, continued down South Third Street. Strosser noted that windows in older homes may last 100 or more years if well maintained. However, vinyl and glass expand and contract in such a way that seals are compromised, and air leakage can happen after three or four seasons.
Strosser said HARB, which seeks to maintain the general historic and architectural character of a district, is not an arbiter of color.
Staff Writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.