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Steel work begins at Smith Land's Camp Hill redevelopment

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Pictured is an exterior rendering of Smith Land & Improvement Corp.'s Neighbors & Smith project on Market Street in Camp Hill.
Pictured is an exterior rendering of Smith Land & Improvement Corp.'s Neighbors & Smith project on Market Street in Camp Hill. - (Photo / )

A Cumberland County developer has gone vertical on the first phase of construction on a block-long redevelopment project along Market Street in Camp Hill.

Smith Land & Improvement Corp. this week kicked off steel construction for its commercial project, dubbed Neighbors & Smith, on the south side of the 1800 block of Market Street.

CEO Richard Jordan III said he expects the new building, which sits across the street from the company's office, to be open by April. It replaces the former Nino's Bistro restaurant, which was razed over the summer.

"We feel pretty good about where we are (with the project)," he said Tuesday.

Smith Land acquired the property at 1801 Market St., along with connected properties at 1845, 1847 and 1849 Market Street last December. The redevelopment plan calls for about 40,000 square feet of retail and office space spread across two connected two-story buildings with ground-level retail.

The first building will house several boutique businesses that already call that block home. They include Little Black Dress, Body Logic, Underneath It All, One Good Woman, Sweet 504, Molly Bee Toys, Mitrani and Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation.

Just Plain Yoga Studio, a former tenant, has moved to the developer's nearby West Shore Plaza in Lemoyne, which continues to add tenants.

The owners of Hoageez, a Hummelstown sub shop, have signed a lease to add a second location in the Lemoyne plaza next year.

Next year

Once the steel frame is done, Jordan said masonry work will begin in January and February. He is hoping to begin tenant fit-out work by the end of February.

After the existing tenants are moved into the new space, other structures will be demolished and rebuilt during a second part of the project to tie in with the first phase. Smith Land aims to attract a mix of retail, office and restaurant tenants.

As part of that second phase, the developer is hoping to attract a restaurant to the corner of the site that abuts South 19th Street.

"We think the restaurant part should be ready by this time next year," he said.

But the timeline could hinge on the construction progress on the rest of the site. The restaurant operator also would need to acquire a liquor license, which can be challenging in Cumberland County. Licenses are harder to come by in growing areas like Cumberland County, which also means they are more expensive than other counties. 

The restaurant space expects to be about 4,000 to 5,000 square feet with ground-level, a main floor on Market Street and a mezzanine level.

That new dining space also is slated to have a walking plaza area at the corner, along with outdoor seating. Smith Land, which recently acquired another neighboring property at 17 S. 19th St. to expand its parking for Neighbors & Smith, hopes to have a restaurant deal in place by early next year.

The Market Street corridor is lined with mostly local merchants and restaurants. Jordan intends to attract more of the same to fill out the rest of the center. The developer expects the entire project may support up to 15 total tenants, depending on leases.

Ahead of the steel construction, Jordan said there has been growing interest in the site from small local retailers, including some who see the Market Street center as a potential second location for their businesses. 

Smith Land sees a lot of momentum building in Camp Hill, with businesses like the Millworks in Harrisburg expanding to the borough with a brewery tasting room. A Chick-fil-A restaurant also is in the works for the corner of 32nd and Chestnut streets.

In addition, a new retail center is being built at 25 N. 32nd St. in Camp Hill, the site of a former Veterans Affairs clinic. Illinois-based Quattro Development is replacing the former Camp Hill VA clinic with a 12,400-square-foot center housing four tenants: retailer Mattress Warehouse and three restaurants — Mission BBQ, CoreLife Eatery and Jersey Mike's Subs.

"We think Camp Hill will be a better place at the end of the day," said Chairman Richard Jordan II, who is retiring at the end of the month. Jordan III, his son, will assume the role of chairman. 

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin and Cumberland counties. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal.

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