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Prominent West Shore office building sold

Triple Crown, J.C. Bar owners partner on deal for former Highmark building

The six-story Senate Plaza building in East Pennsboro Township has been purchased. - (Photo / File)

One of the most visible office buildings in the Harrisburg area has been sold and could be demolished to make way for retail development, the new owners said today.

Hampden Township-based Senate Plaza Bar LP, a partnership between the owners of J.C. Bar Properties Inc. and Triple Crown Corp., has purchased the six-story Senate Plaza building at 100 Senate Ave. in East Pennsboro Township.

The 230,000-square-foot building was last anchored by Highmark Inc., which vacated the office in 2013. Senate Plaza, which was built in 1974 for Pennsylvania Blue Shield, also was the first office for Commerce Bank/Harrisburg (later known as Metro Bank) in 1985.

Triple Crown Corp. CEO Mark DiSanto said the partnership paid “about $2 million” for the 16-acre property that has been in default and bank-owned since Highmark left.

Millions are expected to be poured into the site in an effort to reposition it.

The partnership has been looking at the site for about two years, DiSanto said. The developers have been working with the township to allow retail development. But they are looking at multiple options.

“We’re going to test the market,” DiSanto said. “We think there is a significant retail play with positioning unique grocery, a drugstore and restaurants in there.”

It’s an area heavy with offices, but also a lot of homes, which might draw retailers.

At least two letters of intent have already been signed with major retailers for corner lots, DiSanto said. “We’re looking at all options.”

Other options include hotel development, as well as rehabbing the site for medical offices, given its proximity to Holy Spirit Hospital.

“It’s still too preliminary to say we’re going to put $5 million or $10 million into it,” he said, but demolition alone could cost a few million dollars.

A big tenant could come along over the next few months and reuse the space as is.

“We’ll take the next couple of months to see if we can find a user for the property. There is significant upside to reuse,” he said. “If we have a huge call center or Class C user that just needs space, it would be a great repositioning of the building.”

Joseph Bedard and Ryan Murray at NAI CIR have been marketing the site.

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