University purchases Antlers

More downtown expansion is in store for Gannon University due to the recent acquisition of Antlers Pub at 162 W. Fourth St.

The university purchased the Antlers land, building and equipment for $180,000 on Dec. 21, said Linda Wagner, vice president for finance and administration. The transaction does not include the liquor license, as the current property owner is looking to relocate the pub, she said.

Wagner added that the university bought the adjacent 10-space parking lot from a different property owner in August 2010 for $267,000.

Gannon will move into the space on May 15, she said. Although precise plans for the space are unknown, she said an immediate demolition is not an option since the building is in relatively good condition.

“It may turn out, down the road, it doesn’t get sufficient use, and it doesn’t have the value we think it will,” she said. “But right now, you’ve got a building that’s already there, that’s already been used for gatherings and social activities…They could have after-hours food, plunked right in the middle of where the majority of the residence halls are. Right now, conversations have just started.”

Gannon staff will use the spring semester to survey the building’s condition and brainstorm possible ideas for its use in alcohol-free, university-sponsored programming, said Keith Taylor, Ph.D., university provost and vice president for academic affairs. He said possible ideas thrown into the ring so far include pre-game tailgating parties, pizza and wing nights or a takeout-style restaurant where students can get food delivered to the nearby residence halls.

The purchase of Antlers and the adjacent parking lot means that Gannon now owns all the property in the block between West Fourth and Fifth streets and Peach and Sassafras streets – a key point in achieving the next tier of the campus master plan, Taylor said.

Taylor noted that the Gannon community has a long connection with Antler’s and future development or renovation plans will take that history into account.

“How do you maintain some of the mystique of the alumni’s memories of it, but also ensure that it supports and serves the current students and the future students?” Taylor asked.

Both Taylor and Wagner emphasized that students’ input will also be crucial.

“We’re really looking forward to that,” Wagner said. “That’s basically why we purchased it: for the students.”

Junior business administration major Olivia Colonello said she would like to see the building turned into a student union.

“We don’t really have one on campus,” she said, “and it’s in a remote location with the surrounding residence halls – as well as the current one being built.”

Junior psychology major Erin Belleau said when she found out the university had acquired the beloved neighborhood bar, she immediately thought of her dad’s stories of his time hanging out at Antlers with his Gannon fraternity brothers.

“My initial reaction was, ‘Wow, my dad is going to be so upset!’” she said. “I, however, think it is a positive step for Gannon – I am excited to see changes being made that provide students with a place to hang out beyond the bars lining State Street.”

ABBY BADACH

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