Strawberry Square’s Chockablock Clock moving to Shippensburg

Strawberry Square in downtown Harrisburg. PHOTO/FILE

The iconic Chockablock Clock in downtown Harrisburg will soon have a new home.

Strawberry Square announced Friday that Shippensburg University will take ownership of the clock audio-kinetic ball machine that has stood in the Strawberry Square atrium for more than 30 years. When it’s dismantled in October, it will be delivered to Shippensburg instead of being crated and going into storage.

Harristown Enterprises Inc., owner of Strawberry Square, had said this summer that the clock would be removed to make room for performance and conference areas.

Designed by the late George Rhoads, the Chockablock Clock was installed in Strawberry Square in 1988 by Rock Stream Studios.

Creative Machines will be in Harrisburg from Oct. 11-14th to disassemble, catalog and package the clock for delivery to Shippensburg. There the university will refurbish, reinstall and maintain the machine in the Ceddia Student Union Building with the support of students in the Milton and Doreen Morgan School of Engineering.

Brad Jones, president and CEO of Harristown Enterprises, said in a release, “We’re excited for the Chockablock Clock to find new life in such a prominent location as Shippensburg University and look forward to seeing it revitalized there.”

“Thousands of prospective students, current students, families and friends visit the Shippensburg University campus every year,” added Shippensburg President Charles E. Patterson. “The Chockablock Clock has been an historic piece of kinetic art in Strawberry Square and southcentral Pennsylvania for generations, and we look forward to showcasing it on the Shippensburg campus for all to enjoy.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship opens location in Harrisburg’s Strawberry Square 

The Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, powered by the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, will be opening a location this summer in Strawberry Square. 

It will be housed on the first floor, in the 4,000-square-foot former Hallmark store. 

“We’re excited to welcome the CIE to … Strawberry Square,” Brad Jones, president and CEO of Harristown, the owner of Strawberry Square, said in a release. “Harrisburg University has been an incredible driver for economic development in the downtown and this new lease for CIE is another fantastic example of their positive impact here in downtown Harrisburg.” 

The CIE works to assist innovators – including Harrisburg University students and faculty, as well as entrepreneurs in the community – to build successful ventures. It also provides opportunities for partners to invest in scientific discoveries, technological innovations and academic research. 

Its director, Jay Jayamohan, explained in the release, “The CIE is a multipronged hub that aligns entrepreneurial activities across the campus and business disciplines that feature active learning laboratories, technological suites and a makerspace.” 

Harrisburg University is a private, nonprofit institution offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in the fields of science, technology and math. 

Downtown Harrisburg apartment building nears completion 

The Menaker building in Harrisburg prior to construction. PHOTO/PROVIDED

Harrisburg’s Menaker Apartments are expected to finish renovations in April. 

The apartments, at 17 S. 2nd Street, include 28 one- and two-bedroom art deco style apartments.  

They are expected to go on the market for pre-leasing shortly, with move-in dates beginning in April, Harrisburg-based real estate development nonprofit, Harristown Enterprises, wrote in a press release this week. 

The rental units feature views of the city and access to Harrisburg’s downtown. They also include a full-sized washer/dryer, stainless steel appliances and will be pet friendly.  

The building was built in 1906 by the Johnston Paper Co. to be used as an office and commercial retail anchor in the city’s downtown. Johnston added two floors onto the building in 1912 to bring it to six stories. The structure was renovated in 1977 and was renamed for Mortimer Menaker, then Chairman of the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority. 

It has been under renovation following its purchase by Harristown in 2018. The company is currently looking to lease a 2,000-square-foot restaurant/retail space on its first floor. 

Victorian-era Harrisburg property to be converted to apartments 

A late Victorian-era property in Harrisburg formerly housed women’s fashion boutique The Plum. PHOTO/PROVIDED

A 122-year-old Harrisburg building that formerly housed The Plum, a women’s fashion boutique, has been sold and will be converted into three two-bedroom apartments. 

Harristown Enterprises Inc. is the buyer of the 3,300-square-foot, red brick, late Victorian-era property at 213 Locust St. Dan Alderman, of Lemoyne-based NAI CIR, handled the transaction, according to a release. 

Work on the project is expected to be completed in the fall. The Plum, which operated at the Locust Street location since 1967, maintains a storefront on the West Shore, in Camp Hill. 

“We are delighted to preserve this amazing building, which was built in 1900, and renovate it into three unique and desirable apartments in the heart of downtown,” Brad Jones, Harristown’s president and CEO, told TheBurg. He is collaborating on the conversion with construction partner Don Mowery. 

“Because this was the home of The Plum for more than half a century, purchasing and renovating this building has special meaning,” Jones added. 

“We are happy to see that the building will be preserved,” Isaac Mishkin, who runs The Plum with his daughter, Kirsten, told TheBurg. “Having served on the Harristown board of directors for many years, it pleases me to know that they will take care of this historic structure.” 

The Plum’s roots date back about nine decades, to when Isaac’s father, Moe, arrived in Harrisburg to open a millinery on Market Street. 

Strawberry Square owners to open new fitness center

A new fitness center is set to open this month in Strawberry Square after the downtown Harrisburg retail complex was forced to shut down its previous gym due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, Strawberry Square owner Harristown closed Fitness U, a fitness center that it operated in the complex for 12 years.

While the state began allowing gyms to reopen their doors this summer, Harristown decided to reevaluate how it offered fitness in the city by opening Fit on Market, an unstaffed boutique gym.

“This project was a result of the pandemic,” said Brad Jones, president and CEO of Harristown. “It allowed us to really think through what we wanted at a new facility.”

Jones said the new concept allowed Harristown to free up premier space in Strawberry Square overlooking the capital for office leasing. Being unstaffed also allows the gym to stay open past Strawberry Square’s hours and into Sunday when the complex is usually closed.

The new unstaffed fitness center is smaller than the company’s previous facility at 3,000 square feet, compared to Fitness U’s 8,000 square feet, and is similar in form to a fitness facility one would find at an upscale hotel, he said.

To alleviate worries regarding COVID-19, the gym features bi-polar ionization equipment to disinfect the gym’s air and surfaces.

Fit on Market is part of a greater strategy by Harristown to maintain Strawberry Square as everything residents and workers in the city need or want in their lifestyle.

“We are very excited to have a fantastic new downtown fitness facility to serve both our workforce and residential populations here in the city,” Jones said.

Along with Strawberry Square, Harristown owns and manages over 2 million square feet of real estate in Harrisburg.

Jones noted that during the pandemic, Harristown and Strawberry Square have been working to support the square’s small business tenants through informing businesses about available government loans, grants and programs and by prioritizing retail, food and beverage tenants in particular.

“We’ve had a couple tenants retire and some that have gone out of business,” he said. “We want to continue to bring in new companies, employees and jobs. I’m excited about both the downtown and Harrisburg in general.”