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Codo unfolds

Wide open space, a dramatic wall of windows, occasional
exposed brick and fresh hardwood floors greet those who enter the new
apartments at Codo 241 in York.

Wide open space, a dramatic wall of windows, occasional
exposed brick and fresh hardwood floors greet those who enter the new
apartments at Codo 241 in York.

A couple years ago, the $11 million project was merely an
idea sketched onto a cocktail napkin. Today, the project’s investors are
planning at least two more Codo projects downtown. And a fourth is under
consideration.

The investors have the option to purchase the old
steam-plant building at Philadelphia
Street and Pershing Avenue. The property boasts high
ceilings and clean exposed brick and could become an additional 40 to 50
apartment units for Codo, said Eric Menzer, senior vice president at Wagman
Construction Inc.

“We think it’s got a lot of very interesting possibilities
as a redevelopment project,” he said.

The investors – which include Wagman Construction,
York-based Sherman Property Management Inc. and Murphy & Dittenhafer Inc. –
have until June 30 to decide whether to buy the building. They might rehab the
building, construct another one and convert each into apartments, Menzer said.
It would be the fourth Codo project.

Construction started about a year and a half ago on the
first Codo development, which began to unfold this year with the January
opening of Agrodolce — a trendy European-style restaurant on the first floor.
In February, Wagman Construction moved its offices from Manchester
Township, York County,
to become the eatery’s neighbor.

This month, tenants have begun to move into the 35
residential lofts and flats at 241 N. George St. featuring modern, creative
fixtures with simple elegance. At least 20 leases have been signed, Menzer
said.

While construction is all but finished on this property, Menzer’s
work has just begun. He said he has turned his focus to crunching the numbers
on Codo’s second project, at 26 N.
George St.

The $4 million project, known as Codo 26, will create 11
apartments and a 700-square-foot retail storefront. The project will include
new construction and rehabilitation. The front of the building, which is now
demolished, is best known in the city for previously housing a menswear shop.
Parts of the remaining structure date back to the early 1900s, he said.

 “We’re financing a
real estate project in the middle of the worst recession in 50 years,” he said.
“Obviously, everyone is nervous about the times, and everybody’s money and
assets that they have to invest with, in many cases, have been depleted.”

On the other hand, the struggling economy is benefiting Codo
because individuals and families are looking to rent rather than buy, said
William Swartz, president of Sherman Property Management. Sherman manages the apartments at Codo and is
investing in the project. More than 260 individuals applied for the 35
apartments at Codo 241, he said.

Construction could begin on Codo 26 within two months, with
a potential opening date of the summer of 2010, Swartz said.

Codo investors hope to begin on their third project, at 200
W. Market St., in about two years, Menzer said. In the meantime, the investors
are looking to lease the 8,000-square-foot building they purchased about a year
ago. The building eventually will be demolished and replaced with a 40-unit
apartment complex, which will be known as Codo 200.

Ryan McKinley said he hopes residential projects such as
Codo will benefit companies such as his that own buildings with office and
commercial space available. McKinley owns York-based McKinley Group, a
construction, development and real estate brokerage firm.

“It especially benefits the local businesses that are
downtown like the restaurants and the retail, and it helps other developers,”
McKinley said. “The more people that you bring downtown, obviously, the better
it is for everybody.”

McKinley’s company owns the White Rose Business Center
at 1 W. Market St.
on Continental Square.
The property underwent a $1.3 million renovation before it opened last
September. Four spaces are still available for lease within the center, he
said.

“I’m excited for Codo; I’m excited for them to start their
new project,” he said. “I definitely think doing what their doing right now in
this economy is a great plus for the York
city area as a whole.”

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