With the departure of the Clarion University Small Business Development Center as a tenant from the Gregory Barnes Center for Biotechnology Business Development in Monroe Township, the Clarion University Foundation, owner of the building, is looking at all possible uses for the building.
“We are reviewing all possibilities,” said Foundation CEO Michael Keefer. “There is no set plan at this time, but we are reviewing several possibilities and I don’t know how long that will take.”
Asked if the Foundation would consider selling the three-story building, Keefer said “I’m not willing to discuss any possibilities at this time. We are reviewing all possibilities. It’s a wonderful building, it truly is.”
Thanks to a $1.2 million gift from Gregory Barnes, a retired professor of accounting, and significant grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the federal government, the $5.6 million three-story, brick-veneer, steel-frame building was dedicated in 2009.
The Clarion SBDC was an original tenant in the building and is the last large office complex to leave the facility.
“We were looking for a way to bring the work of the SBDC closer to the faculty and students, particularly the College of Business Administration and Information Sciences (in nearby Still Hall),” said Clarion University Communication Manager Tina Horner.
Many years ago, the SBDC had a suite of offices in Still Hall.
Any trainings scheduled at the SBDC may continue for a short time at the Trinity Point location and participants are asked to check with the SBDC. A new location for training will be announced. The consulting side of SBDC and a long-term permanent location will be in Room 112 of the Carrier Hall Administration Building at Clarion University on Arner Avenue.
Two offices remain in the Barnes Building for now.
The Clarion County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) is still at the Barnes Center. “Our current address is 330 North Point Drive, Suite 212,” said CCEDC Director Shannon Barrios. “If, or when, any changes are made to our location, we will issue a press release.”
According to the Clarion County website, CCEDC assists existing companies, start-up companies, or a company looking to locate to Clarion County with how to finance your business, find the right site location, workforce recruiting and hiring and locating business resources to make businesses more effective.
The Trinity Point Development Corporation also currently has a small suite of offices at the Barnes Center. Reportedly, the lease terminates at the end of the year.
The 23,000 square-foot Barnes Center was designed to meet the Gold certification level of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. Three more pod areas are ready for development that could expand the Barnes Center to 80,000 square feet. Situated on 3.4 acres of land, the site would allow for additional expansion in the future.
The facility is located within both a Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) and a Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ). At one time or other in addition to the SBDC, the facility housed the Center for Applied Research and Intellectual Property Development (CARIPD), NanoBlox, Clarion Research Group, an innovative laboratory, and incubator.
Since its inception in 1980, the Clarion University SBDC has consulted with thousands of pre-venture and existing business clients in its 10-county region. This region in Pennsylvania includes the following counties: Armstrong, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Potter and Venango.
The Clarion University SBDC provides consulting services and educational programs to entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their small business. Clarion University SBDC consultants work with entrepreneurs in confidential, one-to-one sessions to help them with a range of business issues including testing a new business proposition, shaping a business plan, investigating funding opportunities, and much more.
Clarion University SBDC educational programs serve to inform and assist entrepreneurs with the many decisions a new business owner faces. Program topics range from regulatory compliance issues to marketing tactics and are offered throughout the 10-county region.