Members of the State College community gathered on South Fraser Street and West Beaver Avenue to watch construction workers hoist a single steel beam to the roof of the upcoming Fraser Centre.
The beam was topped with a small Fraser fir tree and many signatures from the construction crew, developers and spectators.
Placing the final steel beam on a building, which is also known as “topping out,” is a time-honored event. It was a way for construction workers and developers to celebrate the completion of hard work. The Fraser fir tree placed atop the beam acts as a symbol of good fortune and safety, Eugene Hadden, a Leonard S. Fiore (LSF) director of safety and personnel, said.
“Today, we placed a steel beam more than 150 feet over Beaver Avenue and I could say it represents more than a year of hard work by our construction crew, but the reality is that placing that beam today has been more than a decade in the making,” Vice President of Process Management Richard Fiore Jr. said as he addressed those in attendance at a reception following the topping out ceremony.
The development has been in effect for 10 years, but both the 2008 financial crisis and the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse case caused project setbacks for Susquehanna Real Estate, the original developers of the Fraser Centre, Fiore said.
These setbacks created a need for an entire redesign to the Susquehanna’s original plans, which consisted of a theatre where Penn State could rent additional building space, Fiore said.
Susquehanna later sold the project to Fraser Partners.
The new Fraser Centre will bring five new companies that will serve thousands of customers and create hundreds of jobs, Fiore said.
Fiore thanked the surrounding businesses for their cooperation and understanding, in addition to the Downtown Improvement Center, developers and contractors, engineers, architects, but especially the construction crew for their consistent work.
The LSF construction crew completed construction almost five weeks ahead of schedule, Fiore said.
The main structure of the Fraser Centre is set to open by the end of this December. However, there will be individual grand opening dates for Target, H&M, Federal Taphouse and Hyatt Place, Vice President of Construction Patrick Irwin said.
“The Fraser Centre can act as a focal point because the new businesses will bring a lot of activity to the community that wasn’t previously there,” Irwin said.
Altogether there will be five tenants. H&M will be placed on the ground floor, Target will occupy the first floor while the Federal Taphouse and Hyatt Place lobby will be on the second floor. Floors three through eight will consist of hotel rooms and the top four floors will consist of luxury condominiums, Fiore said.
“Today, we celebrate State College reaching new heights both figuratively and literally,” Fiore said.
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