Brad Jones would like have a new brewpub or craft distillery with a full-service restaurant open in downtown Harrisburg by the end of the summer.
The president and CEO of Harristown Enterprises, owner of the mixed-use Strawberry Square complex, hopes to land a new operator for the former Gingerbread Man restaurant space on Market Street early this year.
A Harristown subsidiary has just sent out a request for proposals for the vacant restaurant space. The Harrisburg Gingerbread Man closed in the summer of 2014.
“We believe the RFP process will help us find qualified business owners for this project by getting a broader distribution this way,” Jones said.
Harristown has been close to locking up new restaurant tenants over the last three years, but none of those deals panned out. The space is fairly large — about 6,600 square feet of usable space — and no tenant parking is provided.
Expensive street parking in Harrisburg — $3 per hour for downtown meters — has been a hindrance for some city businesses in attracting customers over the last few years. However, the city has experienced some new business growth because of technology-related companies and new housing projects opening downtown.
The rise of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology has helped propel many of those investments.
Jones said his company is prepared to match tenant fit-out costs for the space up to $500,000.
Ideally, Harristown would like to see a brewery or distillery with a restaurant open for lunch and dinner service. The owner also is open to seeing a bottle shop included in a new concept, along with possible entertainment options.
According to the RFP, which is due to HBG Realty LLC by Feb. 5, the tenant would be responsible for obtaining its own liquor license, either a traditional restaurant liquor license or a brewery or limited distillery license.
Harristown owns a restaurant liquor license and is open to selling it to a tenant. Based on recent license transfer prices and state auction results in Dauphin County, Jones values the Harristown license at $150,000.
If a brewpub concept doesn’t come through, Jones said he also would be open to other retail or commercial uses for the vacant space.
The goal is to have a new establishment ready to open by August, Jones said.
Read the full RFP below:
Request for Proposals – Brewpub Restaurant Dated Dec 28 2017 – Due Feb 5 2018