A historic four-story building on the market for $435,000 is stuffed with potential. The Brockerhoff Mill in Bellefonte, PA, now awaits a buyer with a sense of adventure.
Built around 1862, the grist mill, also known as Roopsburg Mill, once produced about 70 barrels of flour each day.
The milling equipment is gone, but the mill race that operated the milling wheel is intact. A watery surprise awaits at the very bottom of the former mill.
“There’s a spring that comes up from the northwest corner of the building underground in the basement. They made a little channel that comes into an area where the waterwheel was,” explains the listing agent, Scott Yocum.
The area resembling a pool in the mill’s basement is a few feet deep, but it’s far from a typical indoor pool. It’s cold, a little bit dark, and more than a little creepy.
“It’s a great place to store things like beverages or maybe wade in. I won’t say people use it as a pool, but it may depend on how much and what they may have consumed,” Yocum jokes.
He says the listing photos and the lighting may make the area appear creepy, but that this may be misleading, since you can see it from the open spaces above.
“The water from the spring is constantly coming in, and you can see through the stone where it goes in through there and leaves through the other end of the building and into the creek,” says the agent.
On the floor above the basement pool area is an apartment with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The highlights in the living space are the high ceilings and the abundant windows. However, the living quarters are spartan.
“It has electric baseboard heating, and it’s hard to heat in the winter. It’s in pretty good condition. I mean, it’s livable,” says Yocum.
The mill’s other three floors are basically blank canvases, begging for a new owner’s attention.
“The second floor is wide open—with all the machinery and belts and everything gone,” Yocum says. “On the third floor, I think the owner was thinking of trying to do some unique little offices or spaces, and he put drywall up into a few little rooms. The problem is, I don’t see any restrooms anywhere.”
The fourth floor is more of an attic space.
Yocum says the building could be a perfect place for an art gallery or art studio, which is something that the current zoning would allow.
Parking could potentially be an issue, but Yocum says it would cost about $8,000 to convert some of the mill race area into parking spots.
The entrepreneur, merchant, and developer Henry Brockerhoff built the mill and the nearby Brockerhoff Hotel, which is now a residential facility.
Both the former hotel and mill building are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The mill is one of only a few surviving grist mills in the county, and a millstone sits sentry outside the front door.
The property was last sold in 2006, but has been listed a few times since then, with no buyer in sight.
Yocum says the place with a basement pool is full of potential. It just needs someone to dive in. He feels it could be transformed into a grand house by a buyer with skills and serious cash.
“It could be someone with a very large pocketbook to upgrade it to today’s standards. Who knows?”
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