Former GreenWorks partners focus on more than Harrisburg

John Tierney, left, and Matt Tunnell. - (Photo / Submitted)

John Tierney and Matt Tunnell are no strangers to heavy lifting.

During much of the last decade, the two were partners at GreenWorks Development LLC, a Harrisburg-based real estate developer known primarily for its urban revitalization work in Midtown Harrisburg.

Looking to lend a hand and drive economic activity across Central Pennsylvania, Tierney and Tunnell started their own development firm, Lift Development LLC, last fall.

After an official partnership split and asset division on April 1 — the Midtown Cinema in Harrisburg and Nittany Village and Nittany Townhomes student housing properties near Penn State Harrisburg went to Lift — the Middletown-based company has hit the ground running on another large student housing project that will also include Lift offices.

Lift is hoping to begin construction in June on a nearly 200-unit complex that would house 567 students. The partners invested $1.8 million to buy 14 acres of contiguous land in Middletown and Lower Swatara Township.

They are using 9 acres for the student housing project; there are no immediate plans for the remaining land. Retail amenities targeted at college students is a possibility, along with other commercial uses, Tunnell has said.

“This is not once and done for us,” said Tunnell, as Lift is already planning comparable work at Lebanon Valley College.

Lift will handle all leasing and management of the complex.

“This project will triple our bed count,” Tunnell said, as the previously mentioned properties have 78 units that house about 300 Penn State Harrisburg students.

Lift is focused on projects that have a strong connection to public institutions and public development plans, the partners said. They see strong opportunity in the Middletown area, which is moving forward on downtown revitalization work.

Middletown recently received a $1.5 million low-interest loan from the Dauphin County Infrastructure Bank — the largest of five loans awarded in the bank’s initial funding release.

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

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