Grit Marketing on move, will anchor new project in York
Julie Lando Cross and Dave Cross are putting their love to the test in the name of downtown redevelopment.
The newly married business owners, who tied the knot at the end of last year, have started a new company, CBKPP LLC, to develop real estate in York.
Their first joint purchase is 284 W. Market St., home of the former New Grounds Roasting Co., which closed nearly a year ago following a mortgage default by the building's former owner. It was Sparky & Clark's Roasting Co. before that.
The new owners are investing about $500,000 in the project, which includes the acquisition cost. Silver Spring Township-based R.S. Mowery & Sons Inc., which does business as Mowery and is owned by Dave Cross, will handle the renovations. Work is expected to begin in March and wrap up by May.
The plan is to move Julie Cross' company, Grit Marketing Group, from the nearby Susquehanna Commerce Center on West Philadelphia Street to anchor the 10,000-square-foot building on West Market Street. Grit would occupy about 7,500 square feet, more than double its current footprint, while the new owners look to secure at least two new tenants for the remaining space.
They hope to land a new coffee shop operator or small restaurant for the front of the building. A second-floor space above the cafe area will be marketed to office users, potentially as a small co-working space.
"This new space is indicative of change," Julie Cross said, citing not only the evolution of her 10-year-old advertising and communications firm but also other real estate investments in downtown York.
Companies like Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects have invested in new office spaces along the 200 block of West Market Street. ARoyal Square Development & Construction has been investing heavily in downtown redevelopment projects near Codorus Creek.
Grit was founded as Moxie in 2008 and rebranded as Grit in 2015 after working as the local public relations contact for the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament in Lancaster County.
The company has grown to 14 employees and space is getting tighter in its current York office, Cross said. Grit also has a small Lancaster office in the Candy Factory.
"We want to position ourselves for future growth," she said.
The new office presents the first opportunity to design a space that fits Grit's needs, said Dave Cross. The office, which will maintain the building's old industrial look, will give employees greater workspace flexibility, the couple said, with open spaces and the ability to collaborate. It also will have more private meeting areas, as well as a fitness area.
This will be the fifth office space for Grit in York. The firm first opened on George Street. It has been in the Susquehanna Commerce Center for about five years.
Dave Cross called it the "perfect time" to step into the 200 block of West Market Street. With the proximity to the YMCA, which owns some surrounding real estate, and other construction activity, other vacant buildings along West Market Street could be poised for new ownership and new ideas, he said.
It's also a project that fits well for Mowery, which traditionally does larger projects like warehouses and distribution centers, automotive dealerships, senior-living communities and higher education buildings. The company has been doing more small adaptive reuse work, typically renovations under $500,000, in Harrisburg and York.
That division of the company has two other apartment renovation projects in the works in York. One is the Pullman Apartments building on North George Street. The other is in the 700 block of South George Street.
"This is good for Mowery and York," Cross said. "This is right up our alley."