Plans for about 130 apartments, along with other possible residential and commercial development, are back on the table for York’s vacant Northwest Triangle area.
And if the project is developed, it could sit alongside a new high-tech innovation district where, among other things, parts for robots could be manufactured.
Plans for both of these developments moved forward at a meeting Wednesday of York’s city Redevelopment Authority, which owns the vacant triangle region along the Codorus Creek, just northwest of downtown.
Moving ahead with the innovation district plan is York developer John McElligott, who was given 120 days to study a vacant parcel in the triangle area for his proposal. He explained plans to make robot “actuators,” or components that move or control mechanisms in a robot, among other planned efforts.
Advancing the estimated $25 million apartment/retail plan is The Time Group, of Baltimore, which could break ground on two apartment buildings as early as 2018 and open them by early 2019, a company representative said.
“We’re excited. We’re just trying to get to the finish line,” real estate developer Dominic Wiker, representing The Time Group, said after the authority meeting.
The apartments would be priced at market rate, with no income restrictions, but the likely rent has not been determined, Wiker said. The plan would likely include some 7,000 square feet of retail space, he also said.
The city board, as property owners, gave city staff members permission to begin negotiating an agreement with the developers, who in the meantime will pursue financing for the project.
The news that the Time Group still wants to pursue the apartment project is a victory for York officials, who have long cited developing the triangle area as a top goal.
It’s “a step forward beyond an option agreement” toward a sale of the land and then development, said Shilvosky Buffaloe, York City’s interim director of economic and community development.
York City is going through a growth in residential development, especially with downtown apartments, officials have said.
The project would be a first in York City for The Time Group, which owns Greenbriar Estates, a rental townhouse community in suburban York.
Meanwhile, McElligott is moving ahead with studying plans for an adjoining parcel along the Codorus, telling the authority that “we need jobs, we need opportunity. This isn’t just doing something innovative for the sake of innovation.”
The goal will be to create a manufacturing and software-development center focused on computer programming, robotics and advanced manufacturing, McElligott said. He’s president of York’s Fortress Initiative, a former city bank building being converted into a coding school for prospective computer programmers.
He told authority members the proposed center would bring several hundred jobs in the first three to five years, “and good jobs you can walk to” from elsewhere in the city, he said.
Any such project “that would bring manufacturing to the City of York, and high-tech manufacturing at that, is a definite plus, and could be a huge economic boost for York,” said John Lloyd, president and CEO of Mantec, a York-based organization that provides assistance to the manufacturing sector.