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Tricore Group LLC Suspends Construction of the P Hotel and Spa
 in State College, Pennsylvania

By Nick Malawskey, The Centre Daily Times, State College, Pa.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

September 16, 2009 - Almost a year and a half after work commenced on a luxury condominium and spa in Patton Township, the project has been put on hold for "the foreseeable future," the developers said Tuesday.

Work has appeared stalled for months at the Waddle Road site of the P Hotel and Spa, fueling speculation about the project's future. At the time, the developer said it had undergone a redesign and work would resume shortly.

On Tuesday, the developer announced the project's suspension.

"Unfortunately, the economy has negatively impacted the tourism industry both nationally and here in Happy Valley," Benjamin Heim, CEO of Tricore Group LLC, said in a news release. "We simply cannot go forward with a project of this magnitude without a better sense that the hospitality industry will be thriving when we open the doors -- that is not the case now or for the foreseeable future."

Tricore is the lead developer on the project. Its partners in the project include John and Doug Wolf, of Wolf Furniture Enterprises; Michael, Richard and Leonard Fiore, of Leonard S. Fiore Inc.; and Mark DiSanto, of Triple Crown Corp., a Harrisburg-based real estate developer.

Work on the P Hotel began in March 2008 with Fiore crews demolishing the former Lowe's store and erecting the structural steel components of the planned five-story building.

But when financial markets ground to a halt last fall, so did work on the hotel.

The developers said they still intend to build the hotel someday, but were not speculating Tuesday on when that might be.

"The ripple effect created by the current economy has impacted the timeline for this project," Heim said. "If we were to continue with The P Hotel and opened in a weak economy or fragile hospitality environment, the project could suffer greatly and unnecessarily put our other businesses and employees at those businesses at risk."

Patricia Kleban, vice president of sales and marketing for the project, said full refunds have been offered on agreements made with potential buyers. She also said there have been no changes regarding the previously announced hirings of a spa director and an assistant general manager as part of the business's "pre-opening management team."

Tricore said it will continue to develop "other components" of the Waddle Road site but declined to provide details Tuesday, citing ongoing negotiations with possible tenants for those projects.

"We strongly believe in the concept and the incredible team who has worked so hard to bring this to Happy Valley," said Heim in the news release. "We will continually evaluate The P Hotel in context of our hopefully improving economy to decide when it will be prudent to restart construction on the hotel component."

Nick Malawskey can be reached at 235-3928.

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Copyright (c) 2009, The Centre Daily Times, State College, Pa.

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