Construction, retail deals, axe-throwing among top 2018 stories in Harrisburg area
The April sale of Silver Spring Square, a large shopping center anchored by Wegmans in Silver Spring Township, and construction plans for a new tower for Harrisburg University of Science and Technology were among the most-read stories in the Harrisburg area this year.
Health care and retail construction stories also attracted a lot of attention in 2018, as did stories about craft-beer expansion, axe-throwing bars and local businesses making acquisitions or being acquired.
Here are some of the top CPBJ stories for Cumberland and Dauphin counties.
In April, the Business Journal reported that Ohio-based DDR Corp. sold the Silver Spring Square shopping center to The Wilder Companies, a privately held Boston-based retail real estate firm, in partnership with an institutional real estate fund.
The Cumberland County shopping center sold for $80.8 million.
The deal included 342,600 square feet of commercial real estate, including the 126,240-square-foot Wegmans store. Target and Kohl's were not included in the sale.
Silver Spring Square, which opened in 2007 on the site of a former speedway and mobile home park, hosts a long list of national retailers, including Best Buy, Ross, Bed Bath & Beyond, Petco, Lane Bryant and Ulta, among others. There also are seven pad sites occupied by Advance Auto Parts, Longhorn Steakhouse, Chili's, PNC Bank, Chick-fil-A, Panera Bread and Wells Fargo.
Harrisburg University recently decided it will build a 19-story tower in downtown Harrisburg.
The new tower, which is slated for the corner of Chestnut and South Third streets, will include a health science education center for the university and a 180-room hotel and conference center with a restaurant.
Harrisburg University hopes to seek construction approvals by February, finalize the project's financing by May or June, and start construction by the middle of next summer. The facility could open by summer 2021.
The university first floated the idea for a new tower at the end of 2017. The Business Journal ran several stories in 2018 as the university modified its plans.
Here are some of those headlines:
In February, the Business Journal wrote about axe-throwing coming to the Harrisburg area, part of a national bar trend.
Kamionka Entertainment Group, which operates several bars in and around Harrisburg, unveiled axe-throwing lanes at Joe K's Brewhouse in Susquehanna Township.
The throwing venue is called Generation Axe.
Axe-throwing bars can be found in big cities such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and outside Baltimore. The trend originated in Canada.
Penn State Health expanding on the West Shore
In August, Penn State Health revealed a sketch plan for its planned West Shore hospital in Hampden Township.
The new hospital has been proposed for a tract near Interstate 81 at Wertzville and Good Hope roads. Penn State Health wants to build a 108-bed, three-story hospital.
Penn State Health is the parent of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
The health system announced plans for the Cumberland County hospital in June. It is an extension of the system's partnership with Pittsburgh-based insurer Highmark Health and will boost health care competition in the commonwealth's fastest-growing county.
The proposed Penn State site is not far from UPMC Pinnacle West Shore. The hospital would be the fourth in Cumberland County, joining UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle and Geisinger Holy Spirit in East Pennsboro Township.
Neighbors & Smith
In April, Camp Hill-based Smith Land & Improvement Corp. unveiled its redevelopment plans for the south side of the 1800 block of Market Street in Camp Hill.
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 project, dubbed Neighbors & Smith, has since moved into building construction and should be open in stages in 2019.
In June, developer Josh Kesler announced plans to expand his popular Millworks brewery to Camp Hill in 2019.
Kesler wrapped up a real estate deal in September.
He purchased the former Creative Elegance Boutique property at 2129 Market St. in Camp Hill. He's had the property under contract since June.
The building is located next to the popular Cornerstone Coffeehouse.
The plan is to open a tasting room that would operate under an extension of the Millworks brewery license. Kesler is hoping to be open by May or June 2019.
The year was filled with M&A activity, especially in Cumberland and Dauphin counties.
Here are some of the top deals for those counties:
The Lower Allen Development Authority this fall put in an offer to buy the former Bon-Ton in Lower Allen Township after the chain's bankruptcy.
In April, a bankruptcy judge approved the sale of The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. to a group that planned to liquidate the retailer's assets.
The $7.6 million deal for the Cumberland County location is expected to close on Jan. 18.
The goal of the township authority has been to secure the highly visible property off Route 15 and find a developer willing to invest in new commercial uses for the Bon-Ton.
Workforce development in Pennsylvania will remain a top issue in 2019. Whether they are replacing retiring workers or adding new ones, employers are driven by a shortage of skilled labor and a low unemployment rate.
The Wolf administration has focused a lot of attention on growing apprenticeship programs in Pennsylvania to help meet future workforce needs. Indeed, more than 50 apprenticeship programs have been created over the last two years in Pennsylvania as employers in many industries look to develop a pipeline of young talent.
The growth is coming from partnerships in construction-related fields as well as non-traditional areas like culinary arts.
Here is a recent Business Journal story on that growth.