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Authority: Developer mulls 'entertainment venue' in York's square

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A developer is interested in turning the vacant Citizens Bank building in downtown York into an entertainment venue of some kind.
A developer is interested in turning the vacant Citizens Bank building in downtown York into an entertainment venue of some kind. - (Photo / )

Is the third time going to be the charm for the vacant Citizens Bank building in downtown York?

Months after two others passed up opportunities to develop the building, a developer is interested in turning the ornate former bank building in Continental Square into an entertainment venue of some kind, York City officials said Tuesday.

City officials on Wednesday named the would-be developers as the Landis Brothers of York, identifying them as Matt and Sean Landis. They did not have further details of the proposed venue.

But they hope it will be what the city's top economic-development official called "the right project for the benefit of downtown," the kind of project that York leaders have long hoped would fill the prominent site.

"It needs to be a good fit across all channels, not just for the (city) administration but also for the community at large," said Shilvosky Buffaloe, York City's interim director of economic and community development.

In the past seven months, two well-known regional developers, Derek Dilks and David Yohn, pulled out of possible plans to develop the bank building, in the square’s northeast quadrant. Dilks decided to halt his development plans in September and Yohn in January.

While many people have envisioned a mix of residential and retail as good uses for the bank building, entertainment would be a new path.

The city Redevelopment Authority, which owns the building, at its meeting in March approved giving the developer an exclusive time period for it to study the site's feasibility for the project.

The company's option runs until June 20, Buffaloe said, and it is "conducting their due diligence now to determine whether their proposed project idea makes any sense in our market."

Such a venue could complement some other activities downtown, Buffaloe noted, adding: "But you're only as good as the operator that operates the space. I'm looking forward to all the possibilities, but we’ll see what happens."

York City officials were notified by officials from Rock Commercial Real Estate before last month’s redevelopment meeting that a potential buyer for the building had emerged, and was being represented by Rock.

The three-floor Continental Square building closed as a bank nearly five years ago. The Redevelopment Authority bought it for $515,000 in 2014. The former bank is dominated by its main lobby, which takes up nearly half of the building.

York Mayor C. Kim Bracey said that "obviously, having the 'right' project is key to all of our development. It's key for both the developer and the community, as we all are striving for the same success."

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David O'Connor

David O'Connor

Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at doconnor@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @DaveOC_CPBJ.

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