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The Salvation Army buys former Weis property in Harrisburg, plans to move regional HQ

The Salvation Army Harrisburg Capital City Region has purchased the former Weis Markets Inc. property at South 29th Street and Rudy Road in Harrisburg as it prepares to move its city headquarters.

The nonprofit organization, which served more than 22,000 people last year who live in Dauphin, eastern Cumberland and Perry counties, closed on the vacant 7-acre property last week for $1.25 million, according to Dauphin County deed records.

The property will eventually give The Salvation Army about 50,000 square feet of program space, said Kathy Anderson-Martin, director of philanthropy.

Its current facility on Green Street, which was built in 1954, is about 17,000 square feet.

“This has been in planning for five years,” she said of the future move, citing a program study that determined the organization wasn’t located in an area where it should be for the people who need its services.

That need has grown by 31 percent over the last five years and the Green Street facility is landlocked with no ability to expand up or out, Anderson-Martin said.

The property in the 500 block of South 29th Street, which has a former Weis grocery store, a pharmacy and building that was used as a restaurant, will be renovated once the organization is able to raise funds through a capital campaign.

Weis closed the store in 2009, according to company spokesman Dennis Curtin.

The $5.5 million public portion of the $9 million capital campaign launched last week.

“We won’t break ground this year. So much depends on the resources,” Anderson-Martin said.

The Salvation Army is just starting to work through the design process to identify how the property will serve each of its 11 programs. 

The expectation is that the grocery store, which is about 35,000 square feet, will be renovated. The pharmacy structure will be demolished to make room for a gymnasium or community area, which could help with the organization’s Christmas distribution as well as provide space in the event of disaster emergencies.

The restaurant facility could be renovated to address community meal needs, Anderson-Martin said.

“People know The Salvation Army at Christmas, but our busiest months are actually in the summer,” she said. “Families have increased basic needs challenges because kids are home for the summer.”

Those interested in obtaining more information or to contribute to the capital campaign should contact the organization at 717-233-6755.

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