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Yorktowne now to reopen in phases extending into 2019

Rooftop lounge, second entrance still planned for what local leader says will be a 'gem'

York’s refurbished Yorktowne Hotel will reopen in stages, starting in late 2018 and continuing through the first quarter of 2019.

It could still have a rooftop lounge or venue with lighter fare, but no top-of-the-hotel full-scale restaurant is planned.

There could be an “arrival plaza” for the hotel along Duke Street, perhaps a full floor or two of apartments or condominiums and “refreshed, cleaned up and restored” ballroom and lobby areas.

These are some of the features that could appear in a renovated Yorktowne, which closed in November for renovations, the leader of the project told York-area business leaders Wednesday.

Many “of the great events in York took place at the hotel in the past, and we want to be able to continue that legacy,” said Jack Kay, chairman of the York County Industrial Development Authority, the agency that bought the landmark hotel in late 2015.

When the Yorktowne reopens, “We want this to be the hotel of preferred choice,” Kay told the Rotary Club of York during a meeting at the Country Club of York.

David O’Connor

Kay outlined the work so far and the tentative plans for the refurbished hotel, emphasizing that nothing has been finalized and that “this is a work in progress.”

The IDA has reached a tentative deal with an operator for the hotel, Kay said during his half-hour talk to the Rotary Club, which met for 91 of its 101 years at the Yorktowne before the hotel’s closure, Rotary officials said.

The agreement with the national firm, which operates a hotel in Central Pennsylvania but is not based here, should be finalized in coming weeks, said Kay, who declined to name the company yet.

Officials have pledged that the hotel would reopen by the end of 2018, but Kay said now that it will only open in stages by then – most likely with a restaurant or some form of retail opening first – with the full hotel reopening in early 2019.

The closed hotel has missing mortar, water seepage and “a number of exterior problems that will be addressed as part of the renovation,” Kay said. “So we know we’re going to be doing a pretty significant redevelopment of the outside of the building, replacing the windows and so forth.”

Inside, officials must tackle challenges like antiquated HVAC and mechanical systems, he said.

But excitement and interest in the project remain high, the IDA chairman said, noting that he hears from many people interested in buying possible condos in the hotel and wondering about the status of the rooftop venue.

The Yorktowne, at 48 E. Market St., closed in November for what its owners have called a two-year, $20 million renovation project.

The IDA had bought the nearly century-old hotel for $1.8 million in late 2015.

Before Kay’s presentation to the Rotary Club, the last public update on the hotel renovation effort was at a business meeting last week.

The new hotel is likely to have 100 to 120 hotel rooms and 26 apartments, Blanda Nace, project manager for the IDA, said at that meeting. Officials expect to demolish the rear, eastern side of the hotel, an addition that was made in 1957 to the original 1925 hotel, Nace said.

The project is now in the design phase. York County-based Kinsley Construction Inc., which last month was chosen as construction manager for the hotel renovation, is expected to name as many as 30 subcontractors for the project.

Final plans for what the renovated Yorktowne will look like have not been announced, and a variety of ideas, from condominiums and apartments to the new rooftop venue, have been proposed.

Kay said plans for underground parking beneath the hotel have been shelved, saying project leaders found the idea too expensive.

A public sale of items from the former hotel is planned for this Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Yorktowne site. Proceeds will go into the hotel’s renovation fund, Kay said after his talk.

David O'Connor
Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at [email protected].