The Altoona Planning Commission has given preliminary land development approval for Carnegie Equipment of Sixth Avenue in Eldorado to build a new 16,000-square-foot building.
The new building will include space for the restaurant supply business to create a new showroom, offices, receiving and warehousing, according to Adam Long of Keller Engineers, who presented Carnegie's case.
The existing building will become a warehouse.
The new building will stand on the right side of the existing building, according to George Ferris Jr., a member of the family that owns the business.
Workers won't attach the new building - likely to be metal-clad - to the masonry main building, because the main building is in a flood plain, while the new one won't be, Long said.
"It's an incredibly bizarre situation," he said.
The project will include the merger of small parcels, demolition of two nearby houses owned by the business, creation of additional parking, repaving of existing parking spaces and construction of two access aprons - one for trucks and one for cars.
The business also will ask the city to vacate a "paper" alley.
Carnegie plans to handle the storm runoff with a "rain garden," or section of deep-rooted plants that help to collect water rather than let it keep flowing. The rain garden won't need to be fenced because it's less than two feet deep. Most of the water storage will be in an underground gravel vault, Long said.
The authority granted preliminary approval on condition that Carnegie resolve a sewer line issue with the Altoona Water Authority and a storm runoff issue with PennDOT and the city.
Carnegie wants the authority to abandon a sewer line that is an impediment to development in exchange for granting an easement for a relief line the authority plans to install along the back of the property. The sides have disputed over which one should pay the $15,000 cost of a 150-foot section that would be necessary to reverse the flow from the existing line to the new relief line.
Carnegie has not decided yet whether to drain runoff under Sixth Avenue to a property on the other side or along Sixth Avenue to a nearby creek. Going under Sixth Avenue would require expensive boring and the city to take ownership of the conduit, while draining to the creek would require acquisition of a permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Carnegie hopes to complete the one-story building this year, Ferris said.
Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.