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New plans for York’s Citizens Bank building unveiled

Developer David Yohn has 60 days to study site

Developer David Yohn, left, and his representative Graham Will listen during Wednesday's York board meeting.

After one developer stepped away from plans to renovate a vacant bank building in York’s main square, others are stepping up.

First up is developer David Yohn, whose mixed-use project One Marketway West is remaking Continental Square’s northwest corner.

For the empty Citizens Bank building across the street, Yohn plans “a continuation of what we’re doing” at One West, he told York City’s Redevelopment Authority at a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The authority entered an agreement at the meeting Wednesday giving Yohn 60 days, starting Oct. 1, to study whether he wants to pursue a development in the bank building, in the square’s northeast corner.

Yohn is proposing a mix of residential and commercial uses in the former bank, telling authority members he has “a potential user for the main bank area. It would be very good for the city if we could get it in.”

Regional developer Derek Dilks recently had announced that, after a year of studying the former bank, he was dropping plans for a residential and commercial development there.

Finding a good use for the building, an ornate white structure that had closed as a bank in 2012, is high on the to-do list of York City leaders.

“It’s such an iconic building, and in such an iconic location,” Yohn representative Graham Will said after Wednesday’s meeting.

Like Yohn, Will declined to give further details on the plans, such as the name of the possible commercial project.

Yohn was one of two possible developers of the Citizens Bank building to speak during Wednesday afternoon’s long and unusually contentious authority meeting.

York real estate professional Tawanda Thomas briefly outlined her own plans for a mixed-use development at the site, including having retail on the bottom floor, but she wanted a chance to give a full presentation on her proposal at an upcoming meeting.

There was an extended debate over whether to have both developers outline their plans on Wednesday or at the authority’s next meeting, but Thomas eventually agreed to withdraw from the Citizens Bank site, at least for now.

“There are plenty of other projects out there,” Thomas’ husband, Realtor Tony Thomas, said after the meeting.

The authority had bought the vacant bank building two years ago for $515,000, officials involved in the project said, and then tentatively agreed to sell it to Dilks for $400,000 a year ago.

Before he dropped out, Dilks had an option to buy the building and was given a deadline for him and his company, York Redevelopment Associates LLC, to sign a purchase agreement.

David O'Connor
Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at [email protected].

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