Cumberland County awards more than $5 million in Recovery Grants 

The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners voted last week to approve $5,0496,757 in additional Cumberland County Recovery Grants. 

Commissioners Jean Foschi and Vince DiFilippo voted 2-1 to approve grants for P25 radios. Funding for the Cumberland County Housing & Redevelopment Authorities and Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation was also approved. 

Funding in the amount of $3,783,557 was approved for the purchase of P25 Radios for Cumberland County EMS, fire, police, and municipal emergency management departments. 

Allocated to the Cumberland County Housing & Redevelopment Authorities was $873,000, $500,000 of which will be used to address affordable housing, and $250,000 for the creation of a land bank. The remaining $123,000 is allocated for gap funding to cover administration of community development block grants and the 2023 community business development subsidy. 

Approved for the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation (CAEDC) is an additional $750,000 in grants. This includes $500,000 for tourism product development grants and $250,000 for a small business revolving loan fund. 

Cumberland County has granted a total of $22,664,618 in Recovery Grants and has allocated $25 million for county revenue replacement. The remaining $3,172,534 will be allocated later. 

Most recently, on Nov. 9 the Board of Commissioners voted 2-1 with Commissioners Foschi and DiFilippo voting to approve $1.2 million in Cumberland County Recovery Grants for Business/Non-profit and COVID-19 recovery, and $25 million for county revenue replacement. 

On Oct. 26, Cumberland County Commissioners voted 2-1 to approve $6,434,235 million in Cumberland County Recovery Grants for infrastructure projects in the county. Twenty-one municipalities were awarded funding for improvement projects.  

On Oct. 12, Cumberland County Commissioners unanimously voted to approve $7,112,908 million in Cumberland County Recovery Grants for mental health and physical health organizations across the county. Funding was awarded to 17 organizations to improve the physical and mental health of residents directly and indirectly impacted by COVID-19. 

Former York post office on path to redevelopment

The former York post office at 200 S. George St.

The former York post office at 200 S. George St. just took a major first step toward redevelopment.

Thursday, the Redevelopment Authority of the County of York, in partnership with the York County Economic Alliance, announced the acquisition of the 111-year-old building for $1.95 million. “This is an exciting moment for Downtown York,” Jonathan Desmarais, director of Downtown Inc, an affiliate of the YCEA, said in a release. “Public ownership of the post office allows the community to guide the building’s future redevelopment and ensure its eventual use adds value to our downtown community and catalyzes the revitalization of this important section of South George Street.”

The 57,428-square-foot structure features large marble columns facing George Street, a sizable interior atrium, two stories of marble floor office space, and more than 50 parking spaces in the rear. The Postal Service sold the property to a private owner in 2013 when it relocated its downtown post office to 160 W. Market St.

The alliance and the Redevelopment Authority received acquisition funding from a variety of philanthropic organizations and individuals. Additional support to secure the property was provided by Rock Commercial Real Estate, True Commercial Real Estate, Royal Square Development & Construction and the City of York. Redevelopment Authority Chairman Tom Englerth added, “In recent years, RACY has assisted with the redevelopment of the McAllister Hotel and Plaza 34 in Hanover and Keystone Kidspace in the City of York. This is a similar landmark structure with transformational potential for the South George Street corridor, and our City of York.”

Terms of the deal included an 18-month lease back period, during which the previous property owner will remove stored inventory and vacate the premises. During this period, the alliance and the Redevelopment Authority and will look at uses, potential anchor tenants, funding strategies and development partners.

To aid in the redevelopment, the alliance submitted a $5 million Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program application to the commonwealth.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Dauphin, Perry projects awarded RACP funding 

Six major projects in Dauphin and Perry counties are receiving funds in the latest round of Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grants. 

State Sen. John DiSanto, R-Dauphin and Perry counties, announced the following grants: 

  • Dauphin County Library System ($1 million). The library system’s Walnut Street Harrisburg Expansion project will construct an interior connection between McCormick Riverfront Library and the newly acquired Haldeman Haly House, and renovate Haly House.
  • West Hanover Township Municipal Complex ($500,000). The project will construct a 15,000-square-foot municipal facility that will house several township departments.
  • Rotunda Brew Pub ($1 million). The property is at the end of heavily trafficked Chocolate Avenue in Derry Township and sits a quarter mile from the recently constructed Town Square. This redevelopment will transition the business model from on-site production with limited space for on-premise consumption to a modernized, state-of-the-art brewpub.
  • Swatara Township Municipal Complex Facility ($1 million). The new Fire and Police Public Safety Building will be 50,000 square feet and include secure rooms for meetings with crime victims; joint training facilities for fire and police; and an emergency management operations center.
  • Perry County Economic Development Corp. ($1 million). IBS is preparing to construct a state-of-the-art commercial egg hatchery in Perry County Industrial Park.

State Rep. Patti Kim, D-Dauphin County, also announced a $4 million grant to support a project to undertake a complete renovation of the first floor of the former Bishop McDevitt High School into The JEDI Innovation Center. JEDI stands for justice, equality, diversity and inclusion. The center will contain flexible spaces and facilities for educational programs and events including a community concert/lecture hall, library, co-working space, rooftop garden, community kitchen, fresh foods cafe and full-service medical clinic. 

Glen-Gery sells manufacturing plant to national real estate firm 

National logistics real estate firm, Dermody Properties, announced its intentions to build a 342,710-square-foot warehouse at the site of Glen-Gery’s brick manufacturing plant in York. 

Dermody announced on Tuesday that it acquired the 29.5 acres of land from Glen-Gery Corp. in April.  

The company intends to lease the facility back to the Wyomissing-based brick and stone manufacturer for two years, after which it will redevelop the site into a state-of-the-art warehouse it refers to as the “LogistiCenter.” 

The new LogistiCenter will take advantage of the property’s proximity to I-83, according to Dermody. 

“This is a rare opportunity to build a new warehouse in an infill location with access to a newly constructed interchange,” said Robert Borny, east region partner at Dermody Properties. “The York submarket continues to be one of the best-performing submarkets in Central Pennsylvania.” 

“Though redevelopment of the site will not happen for some time, industrial vacancies are expected to remain minimal for several years as consumers continue to respond to e-commerce trends,” said Tim Walsh, partner and chief investment officer at Dermody Properties. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with Glen-Gery on the acquisition of this project and look forward to being able to offer it to our customers.” 

Camp Hill developer wrapping up first phase, prepping for next stage of Market Street redevelopment

The first phase of Neighbors & Smith, a retail and office project in Camp Hill, is winding down. Phase two is expected to begin this summer. (Photo: Submitted)

A West Shore redevelopment project is beginning to live up to its name as the work begins to shift to the next phase of construction.

Smith Land & Improvement Corp. is developing the project, located on the south side of the 1800 block of Market Street in Camp Hill and dubbed Neighbors & Smith. It recently moved three boutique businesses into the project’s first building at 1801 Market St.

Rick Jordan III, president and CEO of the Camp Hill-based company, said up to five more retail and office tenants could become neighbors for those three shops — Little Black Dress, One Good Woman and Underneath It All.

The developer is planning a grand opening celebration from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday to commemorate the first phase of the project. Jordan said he hopes to soon finalize remaining leases for that space and begin tenant fit-outs.

As that work unfolds, Smith Land is gearing up for a July demolition of remaining buildings near Market and South 19th streets to make way for the second part of the project. The redevelopment plan calls for 40,000 square feet of retail and office space spread across two connected two-story buildings with ground-level retail.

In 2017, Smith Land acquired the former Nino’s Bistro restaurant at 1801 Market St., along with all connected properties at 1845, 1847 and 1849 Market Street. Last year, the developer acquired another neighboring property at 17 S. 19th St. to expand parking for Neighbors & Smith.

All of the buildings have to be razed to make room for the new buildings.

Jordan said the second phase of building construction should begin this fall and the goal is to have the next building under roof by the end of the year and ready for tenants by the first quarter of 2020.

He is targeting four retail shops for the second phase of the development, along with second-story office users. The total office space is about 10,000 square feet.

In addition to the shops and offices, Smith Land wants to build a restaurant on the corner of the site that abuts South 19th Street.

The Market Street corridor is lined with mostly local merchants and restaurants, many of them owned by women. Jordan intends to attract more of the same to fill out the rest of the center. His current tenants are all woman-owned businesses.

Jordan said his goal is to be fully occupied at Neighbors & Smith by the end of 2020.

Homewood Suites under construction in mixed-use redevelopment in Carlisle

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday for the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Carlisle. (Rendering: Submitted)

Construction is underway on a new hotel in the north side of Carlisle, part of a major mixed-use redevelopment in the Cumberland County seat.

Carlisle Auto Industries, a sister company of car-show producer Carlisle Events, held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday afternoon for a Homewood Suites by Hilton that is being built near the intersection of Carlisle Springs Road and Hamilton Street.

Carlisle Events is leading the transformation of a former factory site, known as the Masland/IAC site, which covers 48 acres near the Carlisle Fairgrounds. Carlisle Events owns the fairgrounds, where it operates a series of annual car shows that draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Carlisle area.

The Homewood Suites will include 96 suite-style rooms with full kitchens and separate living spaces. The hotel, which will be operated by Cumberland County-based Simraj Hospitality Management, also will feature an indoor pool and 24-hour fitness center.

The hotel is expected to open in 2020. Lemoyne-based Eastern PCM is the construction manager on the project.

In addition to the hotel, the large redevelopment effort in the borough will also include car condominiums, a restaurant, retail and office space, and a three-acre public park with trails. The eatery, Marcello’s Ristorante, is expected to break ground in the near future.

Carlisle Events purchased the site in 2010. The IAC factory closed in 2008.

“After more than 10 years of dormancy, we’re excited to take the next step in returning this property to its former glory and once again making it a centerpiece for those who are not only part of this community but visit it too,” said Bill Miller Jr., co-owner of Carlisle Events.


Editor’s note: This story has been updated with construction details and a rendering of the hotel project.

Former Harrisburg State Hospital campus expected to benefit from new brownfields funding

The Harrisburg State Hospital closed in 2006 but has continued to house state workers. They are now leaving, opening the door to private-sector redevelopment of the hospital campus. (Photo: File)

Dauphin County has received a new federal grant that could help spur redevelopment of the former Harrisburg State Hospital campus.

County and federal officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced a $300,000 brownfields grant for Dauphin County, part of a nationwide grant rollout.  The EPA program funds environmental assessments of blighted or underused industrial and commercial properties, also known as brownfield sites, that could be cleaned up and reused.

The sites are usually associated with environmental contamination from hazardous chemicals. But cleaning them up can spark economic development.

County officials said the nearly 300-acre state hospital site near Interstate 81 could benefit from the grant funding as commercial interest in the site grows. The site is being taken over from the state by Dauphin’s redevelopment authority.

The county has said developers are likely to focus on developing portions of the property that are closest to the Pennsylvania Farm Show, along Cameron Street and Elmerton Avenue. Hotels, shops and a commercial office park are all possibilities for the property.

But some demolition of older state buildings is likely going to be part of redeveloping the campus, which is where the environmental assessment money will factor in. That work will determine what type of site remediation is needed in specific areas before anything new can be built.

The hospital portion shut down in 2006 but state workers continued to toil inside many of the 45 buildings scattered on the property. Over the last few years, workers have been moving to newer offices, leaving behind buildings in varying states of disrepair. The campus could be entirely devoid of state workers by 2020.

Dauphin County previously received $400,000 in brownfields funding, which helped fund environmental assessments for about 20 vacant sites in the county. Among them is the site of a mixed-use redevelopment in Steelton.

The county also used a portion of that funding on the former Hummelstown municipal complex, which is slated to become the new home of Rubber Soul Brewing.

In the EPA’s latest funding round for brownfields, Pennsylvania received $3.9 million, including $300,000 that is going to Harrisburg for assessments around Derry Street and the Cameron Street corridor.

Former Hummelstown municipal complex expected to house Rubber Soul craft brewery

The former Hummelstown municipal complex on South Hanover Street is expected to become the new home of Rubber Soul Brewing, which was recently rescued from bankruptcy by a Harrisburg-based investment group.

Dauphin County officials said Wednesday that Rubber Soul’s new owners, a group of four midstate friends operating under the name Ghost Brewing LLC, are planning to repurpose the local government site at 136 S. Hanover St. for the brewery.

The brewery plan, which still needs borough approval before renovations can begin, was announced as part of a county news conference at the site. The county commissioners and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were there to announce a new $300,000 round of county funding under the EPA’s brownfields assessment grant program.

The program funds environmental assessments of blighted or underused industrial and commercial properties, also known as brownfield sites, that could be redeveloped for new uses. These sites are usually associated with environmental contamination.

A small portion of the county’s last $400,000 brownfields allocation was used for an environmental assessment of the Hummelstown complex, which the borough vacated at the end of 2017 after building a new municipal facility. The Dauphin County Redevelopment Authority has been helping the borough find a buyer for the former municipal complex.

Rubber Soul’s owners said last month that Hummelstown was their target location for the brewery, but they declined to disclose a specific property.

Members of the group, who attended the event Wednesday, said the plan is to get borough approval on the new use of the property and settle on the purchase at the end of the month. Joe Perkins, one of the partners, said they are paying about $315,000 for the real estate.

The municipal building at 136 S. Hanover St. is about 5,300 square feet and sits on more than a half acre of land. The property also includes a single-family house owned by the borough at 130 S. Hanover St.

The group’s planned renovation of the site for the Rubber Soul brewery is expected to cost about $400,000. Trinity Construction Group in Steelton, which is owned by Perkins, will be overseeing the construction.


Housing, health care top resident wish list for former UPMC Lancaster hospital

Lancaster resident Violet Baldwin contributes to a list of possible developments residents of Lancaster would want to see at the site of the former UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster. (Photos: Ioannis Pashakis)

Asked Monday night what they would like to see in the former UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster hospital, city residents appeared to favor housing and health care.

They did not want to see it demolished or turned into a strip mall.

They made their preferences known in response to a question from Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace, who asked residents at a meeting in city hall what they would want a potential buyer to do with the space.

UPMC Pinnacle closed the hospital about three months ago. Leaders of the hospital system have expressed an interest in selling the property, Sorace said, but she isn’t aware of any interested buyers.

Sorace spoke with city residents to discuss the potential for the hospital’s 6.4 acre site at 250 College Ave., with the intent of bringing their opinions to UPMC Pinnacle. Most attendees lived within two blocks of the former hospital.

“The more data we can collect, the more we can communicate with UPMC,” Sorace said.

On two sheets of paper, residents wrote down their likes and dislikes. They were against developments such as a strip malls or high-end housing and were wary of allowing the space to be demolished.

Rezoning the space from a hospital complex to residential space topped the list of what residents wanted to see, with many saying they wanted multifamily space for poor and middle-class families, not luxury apartments.

Sorace noted that any residential space would do.

“We are in a national housing crisis. We need volume,” she said. “Anyone building anything residential at any price point relieves pressure in the system.”

Many residents wrote that there should be no changes at all and that another hospital should move into the space. Sorace replied if the city denies any non-hospital use of the building, it could be turning away potential developers and leaving the building vacant.

The likelihood of another system reopening UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster is also unlikely because UPMC’s decision to close the facility serves as a notice to any potential buyer that there are not enough people in the area to warrant one, according to Sorace.

“The census numbers of this facility over time as they were reported upon the closure of the hospital speak for themselves,” she said. “The census of the hospital continued to decline, which led to UPMC making the decision they did.”

UPMC has a primary care facility across the street from the hospital with a lease expiring in seven years. Sorace said she believes the health system is more likely to develop primary care at the former hospital than sell it to another system.

The former hospital is made up of 24 separate buildings, which is one of the primary issues with any future development, according to Randy Patterson, the city’s director of community planning and economic development. The site could be broken up into smaller parcel but he said the city advised UPMC to hold off until it finds an interested buyer.

“It’s not a good practice to do that in advance,” Patterson said. “Let’s see what the developers are looking at. Some may say there are too many challenges with the existing structure while others may want to redevelop it.”

Nace leaves York County commissioner race to take city job

Blanda Nace (File Photo)

Blanda Nace, a Republican candidate for York County Commissioner, is stepping down from the race to accept a position with York city’s Redevelopment Authority.

Nace initially contracted with the city last month to assist with economic and community development while Mayor Michael Helfrich looked for a new chief opportunity development officer for the authority. Helfrich announced on Wednesday that the permanent position had been offered to Nace, who accepted it.

Upon taking the position with the city, Nace also is dropping out of the race for York County Commissioner, according to the York Daily Record.

As chief opportunity development officer, Nace will lead the city’s federal Opportunity Zone development in low-income neighborhoods, oversee workforce development and put together strategies to attract businesses to the city.

Prior to running for commissioner, Nace held multiple positions with the York County Economic Alliance, the county’s economic development nonprofit. Nace was the acting director of strategic development for the alliance when he left in February to pursue a seat on the county commission.