West Manchester Town Center sold for $42.5M

JLL Capital Markets announced this week that it closed the sale of West Manchester Town Center, a 488,037-square-foot retail complex in York County.

A Paramount Realty Joint Venture purchased the property for $42.5 million, BizNewsPA reported. JLL represented the seller, ATR Corinth Partners.

“We at ATR Corinth are excited about the redevelopment of West Manchester Town Center into a dynamic retail center that will serve the community for decades,” Partner Tony Ruggeri said in a release. “As with any project of this size, we would like to thank the officials at West Manchester Township, the Redevelopment Authority of York County and the residents of the township and county for their support in this transformation.” Based in Lakewood, New Jersey, Paramount Realty owns and operates a portfolio of more than 15 million square feet throughout the Northeast, including other retail centers in central Pennsylvania.

On 94.1 acres, West Manchester Town Center is at 415 Town Center Drive and features such national retailers as Kohl’s, At Home, HomeGoods, Hobby Lobby and Burlington.

The release noted that the property drew more than 4.2 million customer visits over the last year, the second most visits to an open-air shopping center within a 15-mile radius.

“We have seen renewed demand for best-in-class power centers over the last 24 months, which speaks to the positive macro performance of big box retailers as we exited the pandemic,” added JLL Senior Director Chris Behr.

“With an extremely competitive bid process, West Manchester is a perfect example of this ongoing trend.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer.

Middle Paxton Township housing community to include 39 homes 

One of 39 homes set for TeamPete Realty Services and Design Build Custom Construction’s new Chestnut Hill community. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Two Dauphin County-based companies are nearing completion on the first phase of a two-phase 39 home luxury community in Middle Paxton Township. 

Harrisburg-based real estate firm TeamPete Realty Services and Dauphin-based Design Build Custom Construction are set to complete the first portion of their Chestnut Hill community this fall. 

TeamPete and Design Build began the project last spring and look to complete the community by spring 2024. 

 A number of homes have already been built and sold as part of the first phase. 

The community includes single and two-story designs. The community is located near outdoor amenities, dining and night life and popular destinations such as Clark Creek and the Appalachian Trail, the companies wrote in a release. 

TeamPete and Design Build plan to begin the project’s second phase this year. 

Lancaster County Tourism bounced back in 2021, this year could be stronger 

Lancaster County brought in more visitors and made more money through its tourism industry in 2021 than it did in 2019, according to Discover Lancaster’s 2021 tourism economic impact report. 

Last year, Lancaster County saw a total of 9.13 million visitors, who spent $2.3 billion in the county—an increase of 2.2% and 3.2% respectively over 2019, according to the report. 

While the 2021 numbers show a return to form for the region’s tourism industry, it does not paint a full picture, seeing as though group travel has yet to completely return to the county, said Edward Harris, president and CEO of Discover Lancaster. 

“Leisure travel was predominant last year, and we’re working to further restore group travel in 2022, particularly meetings and conventions, as well as help spur a return to workforce levels that sustain our industry and allow it to make such a major contribution to the area’s overall economy,” said Harris. 

The majority of travel and entertainment spending within the county in 2019 happened in the last four months of the year, according to Harris. 

2021 marked the return of Lancaster County’s theater season, meaning the reopening of popular theaters such as the Fulton Theater, American Music Theater, Sight and Sound Theater and more, which see high numbers of goers particularly in the fall and winter months. 

Prior to the opening of local theaters, other Lancaster tourism mainstays like the Strausburg Railroad, Kitchen Kettle Village and Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair, also drove up 2021 numbers. 

Harris also contributed the region’s strong return in the back half of the year to a number of grants Discover Lancaster received that allowed it to invest in marketing campaigns in large neighboring cities like New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. 

“Without those grants we would probably not be ahead of the curve in the tourism industry comeback,” he said. “We promoted Lancaster County and a travel safe message starting back in the fall of 2020 throughout 2021. For us to be able to promote the area during that period really paid off.” 

One challenge that continues to face the industry is staffing in the hospitality sector. Harris said that leading into Memorial Day, many of the county’s attractions are showing improving staffing numbers, but the county will be keeping an eye on the data. 

2022 could prove to be record breaking for the county’s tourism industry if the first third of the year is to be believed, said Harris. 

“We are on pace to have a record year based on the increases we’ve seen during our off-peak months,” he said. “Typically, that’s our softest period and our gains have had substantial increases.” 

Smart growth toolkit available to municipalities, public

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission has launched an online “planning toolkit” with the goal of providing local governments with, and educating the public about, the techniques and policies promoting up-to-date smart growth principles.

The toolkit was developed after more than a year of research and preparation by the commission, a land use and transportation planning agency serving Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties and their 103 municipalities.

It received a $37,500 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development for the project.

The toolkit includes fact sheets and reference materials on environmental, subdivision, transportation and zoning topics, along with model ordinances to guide municipalities as they create their own. Under “environmental topics,” visitors to the site can find fact sheets on such subjects as agricultural resource protection, brownfield redevelopment, conservation easements and stormwater management. And “zoning topics” includes such topics as accessory dwelling units, affordable and attainable housing, short-term rentals and warehouse zoning.

Some of the model ordinances in the toolkit cover medical marijuana, riparian forest buffer protection, solar energy systems, stormwater, and subdivision and land development.

The commission’s executive director, Steve Deck, said in a release that the toolkit will be updated regularly.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer.

Heritage Valley Federal Credit Union expands community charter 

York-based Heritage Valley Federal Credit Union (FCU) announced that it will now serve clients in Adams, Cumberland and Dauphin counties. 

The National Credit Union Administration approved the credit union’s community charter expansion in April. 

The expanded charter allows businesses or anyone who works, worships or attends school in Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin and York counties to use the company’s loan products and banking services, according to Heritage Valley. 

“The board and staff of Heritage Valley FCU are excited about the opportunity to serve the residents of Adams, Cumberland, and Dauphin counties; as we have done for York County residents for so many years,” said Mike Gutshall, president and CEO of Heritage Valley FCU. 

Heritage Valley FCU has operated in York County since 1935 and currently operates three branches throughout the county. 

York County projects get $14 million in RACP money 

State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, announced Tuesday that six York County projects will receive $14 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grants. 

Overseen by the state’s Office of the Budget, the program helps with cultural, economic, civic and historical projects that create jobs and economic growth. 

The projects and their grant amounts: 

  • York County Economic Alliance – $5 million for the current phase of the Codorus Greenway in York city. Construction will include repair and reconstruction of flood walls to expand levee system capacity and create riparian buffer areas next to the creek and allow for an American with Disabilities Act-compliant access point; remediation of contaminated soil; and in-channel improvements that enhance water quality and mitigate flooding.
  • York County Industrial Development Authority – $2 million for its Ballpark Commons Northern Gateway project. The money will be used to demolish blighted and underutilized properties, construct a new building and improve PeoplesBank Park. The project previously received $2 million in RACP grants in December.
  • York County History Center’s York County History Campus Library and Archives – $2.5 million to create climate-controlled, high-density storage housing 400,000 two-dimensional artifacts. The funds will also be used to complete the third-floor coal bin exhibit gallery and transform the garage into a workshop that supports the campus’ facilities and maintenance functions.
  • York County Food Bank – $1.5 million for its “Building Hope and Fighting Hunger” program. The funds will expand the food bank warehouse to a new facility on King Street – enabling the acquisition, storage and distribution of a greater quantity and better variety of fresh, nutrient-rich foods – and renovate the hunger-free client-choice pantry on West Princess Street.
  • The Children’s Aid Society SOPA COB Inc. – $2 million for its Children’s Aid Society Childcare Center. The funds will go toward the construction and related costs of a two-story, 7,500-square-foot footprint, 15,000-square-foot building with associated parking areas and a 7,500-square-foot fenced-in outdoor play yard.
  • LogosWorks – $1 million to construct a large addition to its building to provide kitchen space, dining hall, art gallery, health and wellness center, full-court gymnasium with locker rooms, and storage.

20 central Pa. farms preserved from development

The Wolf administration announced Thursday that 3,528 additional acres on 40 farms – including 20 in central Pennsylvania – would be protected from development, an investment of more than $9.7 million in state and county dollars to preserve prime farmland.

Also, $735,170 of that will go toward preserving farms on waitlists in six counties. Pennsylvania’s now has 6,044 farms and 611,620 acres of farmland protected in perpetuity from commercial, industrial or residential development.

The state partners with county and sometimes local governments and nonprofits to purchase the development rights from landowners, thus preserving the farms.

“Protecting prime farmland is public policy that works, and a priority we all agree on,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in a release. “It’s a long-lasting, highly effective partnership among state, federal, county and local governments and the farm families who are committed to feeding future generations. Together, we are protecting Pennsylvania’s priceless resources and sustaining our economy.”

The central Pennsylvania farms on the list are:

· Hanover Shoe Farm No. 28, a 213.60-acre internationally recognized horse farm in Conewago Township, Adams County. In 2019, horses bred there produced more earnings for jockeys than any other horse farm in the world.

· The Wayne H. Mummert 111-acre crop farm in Adams County.

· The Doyle O. and Jennifer S. Waybright 124-acre crop farm in Adams County.

· The Andrew W. Brick 164.64-acre crop farm in Southampton Township, Cumberland County, that’s in the process of transitioning to organic production.

· The Darvin L. and Kay L. Halteman 25-acre beef cattle farm in Cumberland County.

· The Thomas P. and Matthew T. Nealy 158-acre dairy farm in Cumberland County.

· The Jean M. Laudenslager 77-acre crop farm in Dauphin County.

· Eileen M. Lesher Farms No. 1 and 2, totaling 245.66 acres in Guilford Township, Franklin County, part of a family-owned, multi-generational dairy operation in a region with highly productive soils and significant development pressures.

· Ricecrest Farms No. 4, a 116-acre dairy farm in Franklin County.

· The Donald W. Witmer 25-acre crop farm in Lancaster County.

· Generation Three Farm LLC No. 1, a 53-acre crop farm in Lancaster County.

· Generation Three Farm LLC No. 2, a 38-acre crop farm in Lancaster County.

· The Nelson and Eva Martin 151-acre dairy farm in Lebanon County.

· The Matthew D. and Louise H. Nolt 92-acre crop farm in Lebanon County.

· Dual Valley Overlook Farm LLC, a 59-acre crop farm in York County.

· Isaac F. and Lydia S. Esh Farm No. 1, a 60-acre poultry farm in York County.

· The John P. and Tina L. Hausner 52-acre crop and beef cattle farm in York County.

· Thomas L. and Kathy A. Hunt Farm No. 1, a 48-acre crop farm in York County.

· Andrew R. and Deborah E. Macklin Farm No. 1, a 72-acre crop farm in York County.

· Douglas E. and Martha J. Rohrer Farm No. 1, a 126-acre crop farm in York County.

Residential housing prices in York, Adams counties continue to rise 

Through the first two months of 2022, home sales in York and Adams counties are the same as a year ago, while prices keep climbing. 

There were 1,020 settlements combined in January and February – 879 in York and 141 in Adams. 

Meanwhile, the year-to-date median sales price rose 10% in Adams County (to $254,900) and 5% in York County (to $215,000). 

In February alone, it was $270,700 in Adams and $221,225 in York, up 15% and 13%, respectively, from a year ago. 

Elle Hale, 2022 president of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties, said in a release that, as has been the case for a while, price increases are being driven by high consumer demand and historically low inventory. 

As of March 10, there were 223 active listings for existing homes in York County and 67 in Adams County. 

“Our two-county area has a combined population of approximately 552,000 people,” she said. “Having only 290 existing homes available for sale is too low to meet the housing needs of our community.” 

In both counties, houses that sold last month were on the market an average of just eight days, the association reported. 

Hale said in a phone interview that the hope is inventory will pick up in the spring, which it traditionally does. 

But there’s no sign of that yet locally, she said. 

Statewide, inventory grew 3.3% in February from the month prior, according to a new report prepared for the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors. 

Still, the number of houses listed last month is less than half compared with the high in 2020, PAR President Christopher Beadling said in a release. “.. The ongoing inventory shortage continues to be a hurdle.” 

He did predict that “consumers looking to purchase a home will see prices leveling somewhat as mortgage rates are rising.” 

So far in 2022, median sales prices are up in five of Adams County’s six school districts and 13 of York County’s 16 districts. 

The largest increases have been recorded in Eastern York, 22%; West York, 18%; and Dover, South Eastern, Southern York and West Shore, 16%. 

Lancaster County home sales continue to out pace 2020

Though Lancaster County home sales fell very slightly in November from the previous year, their pace is still comfortably ahead of 2020.

“As 2021 winds down, the real estate market in Lancaster County continues to exceed our expectations,” said Tom Blefko, president of the Lancaster County Association of Realtors.

“Year to date, we are 500 sales ahead of last year, which is a 9.4% increase – and 2020 was a very good year!”

While closed sales dropped from 532 to 524 in November, the total through the first 11 months was 5,798, up from 5,298.

The data in the Lancaster County report is from Bright MLS, with the caveat that it may not reflect all activity in the geographic region.

“If there is one sore spot in the numbers, it is that inventory levels in housing stock are at historic lows,” Blefko added. “Although year to date we are ahead of last year’s number of new listings, buyers continue to gobble up homes as fast as they hit the market.”

“It will be interesting to see if the lifting of the foreclosure moratorium that the federal government imposed at the beginning of the pandemic will inject additional listings into the marketplace at the beginning of 2022, as some homeowners may still be having a difficult time making their payments.”

Average days on market was 15 in November, down from 24 a year ago. Of the houses that sold, 332 were listed no more than 10 days.

When it comes to financing, 321 buyers used conventional loans, 115 paid cash, 46 relied on a Federal Housing Administration mortgage, and 22 bought their home with a Veterans Affairs loan.

As before, the busiest sector was houses priced from $200,000 to $399,999.

And the average sold to original list price ratio was 101.7%, as competition for homes continues to drive buyers to offer above asking price.

Sold dollar volume in November nearly reached $156 million, an increase of close to $13 million from the year before.

The median sold price climbed to $269,950, up 10.2% from November 2020.

Year to date, the median sold price is $260,000, which is 11.6% more than last year at this time.

“More than likely, we will finish the year with double-digit appreciation rates, which will be a boon for homeowners’ equity positions,” said Blefko.

“As we approach the end of the year, the average homeowner in Lancaster County will see their home increase in value over $30,000, which is unprecedented.”

York developer proposes $48 million multi-family housing community in Franklin Township 

A rendering of Inch & Co.’s proposed $48 million multi-family housing community in Franklin Township. PHOTO/PROVIDED

York-based real estate developer Inch & Co. plans to invest an estimated $48 million on a 300 unit multi-family housing community in Franklin County. 

The project, located in Antrim Township and Greencastle Borough, would include 10 30-unit, three story apartment buildings; a swimming pool and community clubhouse; walking trails; and off-street parking. 

Inch & Co. Looks to address an urgent need for housing in Franklin County with the new project, said Joe Eisenhauer, director of acquisitions at Inch & Co. 

“We’ve been following the tremendous economic expansion of Franklin County and the I-81 corridor over the last few years and see a situation where growth and opportunity will only be limited by the ability of those who want to live here to find a place to call home,” said Eisenhauer. 

Franklin County was the 10th fastest growing County in Pennsylvania according to 2020 US Census data, growing by 4.2% and adding more than 6,300 new residents over the last 10 years. 

Inch & Co. recently completed a 172-unit multi-family community in Marietta, Lancaster County, and is currently under construction on a 120-unit project in Hampden Township, Cumberland County.  

The company anticipates breaking ground on 170 units in Mt. Wolf, York County this fall and has close to 1,500 units moving through plan approvals throughout the region. 

“We’ve built developments like this in communities throughout the region and pride ourselves on blending into the local area and being good neighbors.” said Jeff Inch, CEO of Inch & Co., “The nature of housing has changed. Our residents, in many respects, could easily afford their own home but chose not to. Maybe they’re retired, or looking for maintenance free living, but they’re predominantly single individuals or couples and accordingly we’ve found that the impact on schools—traditionally one of the first concerns we hear—has been shockingly low compared to public perception.” 


Penn State Health taps another Tower Health exec for its leadership team


Ed Chabalowski. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Penn State Health announced that Edward Chabalowski has been named vice president of finance and Chief Financial Officer for its Berks and Lancaster County region, effective Sept. 7.

He will be the senior financial leader for Penn State Health St. Joseph and the future Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center, scheduled to be completed in fall 2022. Chabalowski will also coordinate with Penn State Health Medical Group practices in the area.

Currently CFO for two hospitals within Tower Health, he is the second executive from that system to join Penn State Health.

Claire Mooney, the president and CEO of Tower Health’s Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville and Jennersville Hospital in West Grove, will become senior vice president and chief operating officer of Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center on Sept. 13.

Chabalowski has 35 years of experience in health care finance, operations and strategy, according to a release. In 2018, he was recruited by Tower Health to lead the integration of Phoenixville Hospital into that health system, and later took financial responsibility for Pottstown Hospital. Previously, he led the integration of Community Medical Center in Scranton into Geisinger Health System.

And prior to that, Chabalowski was director of finance and later chief financial officer at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.

York County Board of Commissioners allocates $42 million in COVID relief capital

York County’s small businesses and nonprofits, as well as businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry, will receive a portion of the county’s remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

The York County Board of Commissioners approved the allocation of nearly $42 million of its ARPA funds to inject capital into various industries within the county as well as reimburse the county for COVID-related expenses.

The allocation in funds was structured by recommendations from the YoCo Strong Recovery Task Force and include up to $2 million to stabilize and jumpstart York County’s tourism and hospitality industry, $18 million for small business and nonprofit organizations, and $21 million for the county for existing and future expenses related to the pandemic.

The commissioners went on to list a series of funding priorities as part of the allocated funds. Priorities include: $1 million for learning centers and childcare services, $1 million for senior centers, $1 million for the York County History Center, $1.5 million to United Way partner organizations, and $9.5 million to launch a second round of Restart grants.

“This economically-critical action will provide significant investment and the infusion of capital into York County’s rebounding economy,” said Julie Wheeler, York County president commissioner. “We believe it will provide funding to many sectors of our economy to stabilize businesses and organizations across the entire county as well as continue our recovery.”

York County previously used a portion of its over $87 million in ARPA funds to expand and enhance broadband and wireless internet connectivity throughout the county and to fund the former CHIRP program.

The county will have over $19 million in ARPA funds left over after this most recent allocation.