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Construction, retail deals, axe-throwing among top 2018 stories in Harrisburg area

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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.

Wegmans

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.

HU tower

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:

Harrisburg University entertaining eight proposals for downtown tower

Harrisburg University pares back tower plan, construction still expected to exceed $100M

Harrisburg University decides on 19-story tower, hires preconstruction firms

Axe-throwing

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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

Penn State's future 108-bed acute care hospital will be located off Good Hope and Wertzville roads near Interstate 81 in Hampden Township.
Penn State's future 108-bed acute care hospital will be located off Good Hope and Wertzville roads near Interstate 81 in Hampden Township. - ()

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

The Jordans in front of the construction site of Neighbors & Smith.
The Jordans in front of the construction site of 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.

Millworks growth

The owner of the Millworks in Harrisburg has purchased the former Creative Elegance Boutique property in Camp Hill and will open a tasting room for his brewery.
The owner of the Millworks in Harrisburg has purchased the former Creative Elegance Boutique property in Camp Hill and will open a tasting room for his brewery. - ()

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.

M&A

Turner Automotive Corp. officially acquired Sutliff Chevrolet last month. The dealership is on Paxton Street in Harrisburg.
Turner Automotive Corp. officially acquired Sutliff Chevrolet last month. The dealership is on Paxton Street in Harrisburg. - ()

The year was filled with M&A activity, especially in Cumberland and Dauphin counties.

Here are some of the top deals for those counties:

Turner Automotive acquires Sutliff Chevrolet in Harrisburg

Minnesota company acquires Phillips Office Solutions

West Shore Home acquires North Carolina company

Law firm expands lobbying services via mergers

H.B. McClure buys companies in Cumberland, Lancaster counties

Bon-Ton

The Lower Allen Township Development Authority is buying the former Bon-Ton on Gettysburg Road in the township for future redevelopment. The purchase price is $7.6 million.
The Lower Allen Township Development Authority is buying the former Bon-Ton on Gettysburg Road in the township for future redevelopment. The purchase price is $7.6 million. - ()

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.

Apprenticeship growth

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.

Jarrod Eltz, 20, is a culinary apprentice at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. The apprenticeship program is operated in partnership with the Lebanon County Career & Technology Center.
Jarrod Eltz, 20, is a culinary apprentice at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. The apprenticeship program is operated in partnership with the Lebanon County Career & Technology Center. - (Photo / )
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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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