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Senior apartments proposed for Lancaster

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A rendering of a proposed 14-story senior residential building at 221-227 N. Prince St. in Lancaster.
A rendering of a proposed 14-story senior residential building at 221-227 N. Prince St. in Lancaster. - (Photo / )

A Lancaster developer is planning a 14-story senior residential building in the city's central business district but has a number of hurdles to overcome before it becomes reality.

The project would offer between 175 and 200 rental units to residents 55 and older at 221-227 N. Prince St. in Lancaster, according to an announcement by real estate developer Eberly Myers LLC.

Eberly Myers plans to begin building at the site next year, but first needs approval from the city to demolish the building at 227 N. Prince St. The brick building, home to Roburrito’s, Hidden Treasures and Downtown Books, is one of five buildings in the Teller Brothers-Reed Historic District used in tobacco processing in the late 1800s.

The developer originally planned to incorporate the building into the façade of the new project, but found a number of structural issues that make it unusable, said Brian Myers, Eberly Myers co-owner.

“Our desire would have been to maintain what is there, but the building has a long history of structural challenges,” Myers said. “We were willing to rebuild it but they said if it’s not the original material it won’t look the same.”

Eberly Myers paid $1.95 million for the two buildings at the site of its planned project, according to Lancaster County property records.  Both Roburrito’s and Hidden Treasures plan to look for new locations and are weighing their options with Eberly Myers. Downtown Books will be closing, according to Myers.

Myers said the project fits with the city’s desire for more housing.

“Our research indicates that there is tremendous need for housing in all sectors (in Lancaster),” Myers said. “We’ve done market studies in all of the demographics and there is a large demand on the senior side of the equation.”

The 230,000-square-foot facility is expected to offer a variety of housing options, including affordable housing and services such as memory care, assisted living and independent living. The building would also have 20,000 square feet set aside for commercial space for a Fitness health club, a grocer, a café and a rooftop restaurant.

Eberly Myers will be partnering with a senior care provider for the project, but has not yet disclosed the specific provider.

The location at North Prince Street would give the building’s residents access to Lancaster’s downtown offerings, which Myers said will be a positive for area businesses.

“They will have time and resources to spend and it adds a lot of value to the local restaurants and entertainment,” he said.

But first there are hurdles to overcome.

The height of the new building itself could pose a problem, as it would be the tallest structure in a historic district in the city, according to Randy Patterson, Lancaster’s director of economic development and neighborhood revitalization.

“Because it is in the central business district, zoning will be more about the height than the use (of the building),” Patterson said. “There still needs to be a review on their part before they file a formal application with the city.”

The developer expects to begin construction of the building next year, with the goal of finishing the project in mid-2021.

The city’s Historical Commission is meeting on Tuesday to review the initial concept for the project, but will not be submitting an official recommendation until the developer submits

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Ioannis Pashakis

Ioannis Pashakis

Ioannis Pashakis covers health care and Lancaster County. Email him at ipashakis@cpbj.com.

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