Lancaster city will have a lot going on in coming months as construction begins on a variety of redevelopment projects.
In the 400 block of North Queen Street, bids have been accepted and work will begin shortly on a 266-space parking garage. Randy Patterson, Lancaster city director of economic development and community revitalization, said the construction will cost about $7.6 million, with total costs of about $10 million.
"It should be substantially completed by the end of 2013," Patterson said.
Sixty-eight of the spaces will be dedicated to the Lancaster Press Building, an adjacent structure being redeveloped into more than 40 market-rate residences that Patterson said will likely be completed in 2015. And, Patterson said, the Fulton Bank expansion at 23 E. King St. that is expected to eventually bring more than 500 additional employees to the downtown should start this year.
Nearby, on Prince and Lemon streets, the new office building for more than 200 T.W. Ponessa & Associates mental health counseling services employees is slated to open next month, according to Marshall Snively, interim president of the James Street Improvement District.
Also, Snively said, Philhaven will soon open a 10,000-square-foot office on Prince Street; renovation of the Cityscape Lofts building at 405 N. Mulberry St. into market-rate apartments recently concluded; the 55+ Steeple View Lofts apartments at 118 N. Water St. are nearing completion; and new shops and restaurants have opened.
In the past two years, Snively said, about 150 new apartment units have opened in the downtown and northwest areas of the city, and many have waiting lists. He sees them as "a real driving force in the investment over the last few years."
"This area of town is seeing quite the investment," Snively said. "We love to market the good news."
The southeast part of the city also is seeing movement on some big redevelopment projects, according to Spanish American Civic Association CEO and Executive Director Carlos Graupera. Between Tec Centro and Conestoga River Plaza, Graupera said, the investment will total about $13 million.
"It has taken it a long time to come together," Graupera said, and he credits a group effort that has involved the city, High Companies, PPL, Economic Development Company of Lancaster County, Fulton Bank, Metro Bank, the Community First Fund, the Steinman Foundation and Wells Fargo Regional Foundation.
Graupera said construction on Tec Centro at a former factory site on 102 Chester St. should begin within a month, with a goal of being ready for students by January 2014. With instruction provided by a partnership with Harrisburg Area Community College, Tec Centro's mission will be to provide a bilingual bridge to careers such as medical billing, dental technician, construction, bookkeeping, phlebotomy and computer training for those who would struggle to learn in other settings because of language challenges and educational deficits.
Graupera said SACA is still working on program funding and business partnerships for Tec Centro and doesn't expect state funding to come to the table "under the present climate."
"We think it's a win-win for them to help our technology center to become established and become a success," he said of his hopes for strong backing from the business community.
Conestoga River Plaza is a nearly six-acre site at the end of the South Duke Street corridor that will consist of 12 townhouses for income-qualified first-time homebuyers and then about 30,000 square feet of retail space.
"A dry goods facility will be going there, a much expanded community grocery, and a hub of restaurants, about 80 jobs in total to the neighborhood," Graupera said.
The first six townhomes are under construction, with the rest to come next year. Graupera said he hopes construction on the commercial part also can begin this summer.