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  #1361  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2006, 1:39 PM
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COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

Area's office space grows and tends to lease quickly

Thursday, April 27, 2006
BY DAN MILLER
Of The Patriot-News

Demand is slowly catching up to supply when it comes to leased office space in the Harrisburg area.

The first three months of 2006 saw a net increase of 81,363 square feet of office space being leased throughout the area, said Thomas T. Posavec, a vice president at Landmark Commercial Realty Inc. in Wormleysburg.

That means the leasing market is off to a good start. In a typical year, central Pennsylvania ends up with a positive leasing rate of about 200,000 square feet.

If that's hard to visualize, try this: The 18-story Fulton Bank building at Third and Locust streets in Harrisburg has 96,000 square feet of office space. Double the size of the Fulton building and that's a standard year for increased leasing activity in the area, Posavec said.


Posavec monitors 847 office buildings in the area to track activity.

In addition to Harrisburg, he charts activity east to Hershey and west to include Silver Spring Twp.

Linglestown Road to the north and the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the south also are included in his survey area.

Here are some highlights of the quarterly survey:
  • In the first quarter, Harrisburg saw a net loss of 1,800 square feet of leased space. But the city maintained 98 percent occupancy for premium office space, which commands the highest rents, Posavec said.
  • A relatively low occupancy of 89 percent for premium office space east of the city can be attributed to two new and large buildings. One is a 75,000-square-foot building on Crums Mill Road in Lower Paxton Twp., and the other is a 41,000-square-foot building at 4507 N. Front St. in Susquehanna Twp.
Take out those two buildings and the occupancy rate for Class A space on the East Shore is 95 percent, Posavec said.

"We have a temporary oversupply, which is very normal when new properties are constructed. That oversupply will be corrected and is being corrected over the next two to three quarters" as both buildings get leased up, Posavec predicted.

A similar situation is found on the West Shore, where occupancy for premium Class A space is 82 percent. In this case, leasing numbers are affected by two large vacant properties.

About 130,000 square feet is available in the former PHICO headquarters building at Route 11 and Hogestown Road in Silver Spring Twp.

Posavec expects that, when renovations are completed, the PHICO space will be among the best in the area. The building is versatile enough to meet the demands of a 60,000-square-foot tenant or one that only needs 3,000 square feet, and easy access to the property from Interstate 81 is a plus, he said.

The West Shore market has an additional 75,000 square feet to absorb in the former IBM building at 300 Corporate Center Drive in East Pennsboro Twp.

Jim Helsel, a partner at RSR Realtors, said 2005 was a good year for the Harrisburg-area office market. He expects 2006 to be even better.

"The leasing rates have begun to show that the market is strengthening. I don't see that slowing down," Helsel said.


Posavec said there is a lack of supply for office buildings that are 8,000 to 30,000 square feet .

He added that construction costs have increased greatly over the last four years. As a result, when an existing property becomes available, on average it sells within two weeks to a month or less compared to up to six months before.
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  #1362  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2006, 1:41 PM
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DERRY TWP.

Parking lot plan draws fire

Thursday, April 27, 2006
BY DIANA FISHLOCK
Of The Patriot-News

Derry Twp. officials last night heard why using part of the former Parkview Golf Course for overflow parking for Giant Center events is a good idea -- and they heard why it's a bad idea.

The township's zoning hearing board did not make a decision, delaying action after board member Roy Wells said he preferred to wait for the solicitor's opinion. The members said they might call a special meeting within two weeks to decide on the issue.

Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Co. wants to use 30 of the former golf course's 130 acres as temporary overflow parking. It also hopes to turn the area into permanent parking by the end of the year.

The extra parking would improve traffic flow when 30,000 concertgoers enter and exit the area at once, causing traffic delays in the parking lots and along Route 39 and nearby streets, said Jay Robertson, Hershey Entertainment's director of event services and safety and security.

The temporary parking would just involve painting lines on the grass, company officials said. They said specifics for the proposed permanent parking have not been decided.

The company also would use the lot about 12 times a year for large events such as car shows and RV shows, Robertson said. The company has used about 30 acres at the base of Milton Hershey School's Senior Hall for that purpose, but construction and renovations at the school have made that site unavailable.

Derry Twp. resident Sandy Ballard presented a petition signed by 150 residents opposed to the parking lot plan.

"We've lost so many of Milton Hershey's treasures. I believe that we need to do all we can to preserve what is left," Ballard said.

Milton Hershey built the course in 1927. Hershey Entertainment owned it until 1994, then bought it back in 2002. The company closed the course in November, citing declining revenue among other factors.

Rumors swirled then about the future of the course.

"We have no intentions of turning Parkview into a water park, and we have no plans on moving any of the holes around," Gene Meoni, general manager of the golf club, said at the time.

"Unfortunately, over the years, Parkview has experienced an ongoing decline in golf rounds, due in large part to the abundance of other daily-fee golf opportunities, within a close proximity to Hershey," CEO Scott Newkam wrote last fall via e-mail.

Ballard, who is not a golfer, said she and hundreds of other residents would love to see Parkview return to being a golf course.

Resident Roger Olson said he hopes Hershey Entertainment will give the land to the township as a park.
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  #1363  
Old Posted Apr 27, 2006, 9:12 PM
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Harrisburg University Renderings

I stumbled across some pretty sweet renderings of a master plan for HU. Click on the link, then hit the 'markets' tab, then 'higher education', then scroll down until you see Harrisburg University. Tumbnails are at the bottom. A little work, I know, but the pics are nice. Enjoy!

http://www.burthill.com/main.html
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  #1364  
Old Posted Apr 28, 2006, 1:52 AM
Spudmrg Spudmrg is offline
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Some of the places the (right-most thumbnail) master plan indicated for the campus are already built up, mainly the area just west of the railroad tracks on market street (bottom of the screenshot). Maybe I'm just confusing a parking garage (5th and Market) for a future building due to the color scheme. I thought most of that garage was leased out to the state.
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  #1365  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2006, 10:49 PM
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Thanks, klingy04!
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  #1366  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2006, 3:49 PM
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Pretty cool!


EMERGENCY EXIT

Firm unveils rescue system for high-rises

Sunday, April 30, 2006
BY JOE ELIAS
Of The Patriot-News

The large puff of smoke and people rappelling the side of a building near the Capitol yesterday stopped several passers-by in their tracks.

It wasn't a stunt by thrill-seekers or state workers finding a quicker way to their cars. Turned out to be a test of a system to safely rescue people stuck in high rises.

"It's interesting," said Ted Richardson of Lower Swatara Twp., who was just driving by when he saw a man rappelling the side of the Labor and Industry building. "There's obviously a serious purpose behind it, but it looks like a lot of fun, too."

Winner Global Defense, a Sharon, Mercer County-based research and development firm specializing in defense products, unveiled its Safexit system yesterday for first time in North America at the state Labor and Industry building.

The system allows those working or living in high rises to use a harness attached to a steel cable to rappel the side of the building, said Steve Kohler, the president of Winner Global Defense.

"It's designed to be a last option in an emergency when all other exits are blocked," Kohler said.

The system can carry a person weighing up to 336 pounds and can be used in structures up to 1,155 feet tall, the company said.

A person can rappel from the building at a rate of 3.3 feet per second.

Each system costs about $9,000, depending on the amount of cable needed. Each system comes with two cables and two harnesses.

Winner Global gave an audience consisting of emergency service workers and curious passers-by a demonstration of the product.

A large cloud of smoke shot out of a 14th floor window of the building, followed by four people rappelling from the office.
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  #1367  
Old Posted May 1, 2006, 8:57 PM
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I found this on the City's site:

http://www.harrisburgpa.gov/100scale...p_04-17-06.jpg

And you always feel it at street level in parts of Midtown, but man, seeing it from the air sure shows just how mcuh open space needs to be developed! Of course I am happy to see the blight gone, but it sure is sad seeing nothing also...

EDIT: The city won't allow the link anymore, so go to the home page and check out the pic for yourself: http://www.harrisburgpa.gov/
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Last edited by EastSideHBG; May 2, 2006 at 8:34 PM.
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  #1368  
Old Posted May 1, 2006, 9:07 PM
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I also want to give the city MAJOR props for installing all of the new traffic lights throughout the city because:

1) The poles are green and look really nice; they fit in very well with the tree-lined streets.
2) The new LED lights are fanatastic and much easier to see (plus they last longer and have lower maint.).
3) Lights on wires = suck because they are ugly and hard to see; I am sooo happy to see those gone!

It's amazing how the smallest thing can make such a difference in the look of a place!
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  #1369  
Old Posted May 2, 2006, 12:58 PM
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Not huge news, but I wanted to post because it's even further proof that bigger cities are taking notice of us...

RESTAURANTS

Chain prepares to expand

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A restaurant chain that specializes in fresh salads has targeted central Pennsylvania for growth.

Saladworks, based in Conshohocken, plans to open 15 to 20 restaurants in the midstate within the next three years, said Steve Beagelman, senior vice president and chief franchise officer. The restaurants will be in the Harrisburg, Lancaster, Reading and York areas.

Saladworks has 74 restaurants now, including one near Lancaster and several in the Philadelphia area. It also has restaurants in New Jersey, Florida, Delaware, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

More information about Saladworks can be found at the company Web site, www.saladworks.com.

*************

MAKING A POINTE

Area shopping center to open on schedule

Tuesday, May 02, 2006
BY MARY KLAUS
Of The Patriot-News

H.Stephen Evans surveyed the massive construction project in Swatara Twp. and pointed to more than 100 workers plying their crafts.

"Look around," Evans said last week. "There are crews putting in storm-water lines, sewer lines, gas lines and electric lines; masons working on building exteriors; and people pouring concrete for the foundation for the shops."

Those workers, on a mission to transform a 43-acre cornfield into a $50 million shopping center called High Pointe Commons, will finish by the scheduled opening in October, said Evans, project manager for High Real Estate Group in Lancaster.

The shopping center off Interstate 283 and Chambers Hill Road will feature Target and J.C. Penney stores as well as restaurants and small shops.

Crews have been working nonstop on the rocky terrain since August. After months of ground preparation, the shells of the two anchor stores were built in November and December. The Target store, which measures 125,000 square feet, and the J.C. Penney space, at 100,000 square feet, are under roof.

Work has started in the area between the two anchor stores that will house 10 to 15 shops ranging from 1,000 to 8,000 square feet, Evans said.

"We'll have at least six restaurants, including a Chili's," he said.

A pedestrian walkway will connect the Wyndham Harrisburg-Hershey hotel to High Pointe Commons. The main entrance off Lindle Road winds through the Wyndham property. That link required knocking down the hotel's parking garage. The entrance will be a boulevard with trees down the center, said Paul Cornell, Swatara Twp. administrator.

"The developers already are planning phase two," Cornell said, describing that as a seven-acre site that could feature a 60,000-square-foot theater and entertainment complex. "This won't open until 2007."


Target has a store at Paxton Towne Centre along Route 22 in Lower Paxton Twp. J.C. Penney closed a 153,000-square-foot store at nearby Harrisburg Mall in April 2001.

Harrisburg Mall, Colonial Park Mall, The Point, Colonial Commons, Paxton Towne Centre and the Outlets at Hershey are all a short drive away.

Evans said the shopping center will serve people in the southeastern quadrant of the East Shore who haven't had convenient access for retail shopping.

"The other Target is at least five miles away, and the closest J.C. Penney is in the Capital City Mall eight miles away," he said. "J.C. Penney is usually mall-based. This will be only its second off-mall site in Pennsylvania and is considered the off-mall prototype."

Evans said High Real Estate Group and CBL & Associates Properties Inc. of Chattanooga, Tenn., bought the property from PPL Corp. The land was best known for a 21-acre corn maze, which was shaped like the symbol of the Children's Miracle Network, that raised money for the network in 2002.
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  #1370  
Old Posted May 2, 2006, 12:59 PM
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Jobless rate holds steady

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The unemployment rate in the Harrisburg area was 3.7 percent in March, unchanged from February. The area -- Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties -- continued to have one of the lowest jobless rates in the state.

The Lancaster and Lebanon areas had the lowest rates in the state for March, at 3.4 percent. The unemployment rate in the State College area was 3.6 percent, and the rate in the York-Hanover area was 3.9 percent.

The national unemployment rate in March was 4.7 percent, and the statewide rate was 4.5 percent.

The number of jobs in the Harrisburg area totaled 324,700, an increase of 2,300 from February. About 1,000 of the new jobs were in the leisure and hospitality industry. Manufacturing jobs increased by 400 from February and are up by 200 since March 2005.

The average manufacturing wage in the area was $16.06 an hour in March, compared with $15.37 statewide. The average manufacturing work week was 37.8 hours, compared with 40.7 hours across the state.
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  #1371  
Old Posted May 3, 2006, 12:47 PM
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Oh Lord, will someone PLEASE make a decision and build something already?!?


COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE

Hotel proposed near Farm Show

Wednesday, May 03, 2006
BY JOHN LUCIEW
Of The Patriot-News

A hotel might be built near the state Farm Show Complex after all.

After two projects designed to provide lodging for Farm Show patrons fell through, a third developer has stepped forward. His plan calls for a 124-bed, extended-stay hotel just north of the complex.

Brian Zaver, who operates the Super 8 hotel on North Front Street in Harrisburg, wants to build a five-story Staybridge Suites hotel on 4.5 acres off Industrial Road, between the Farm Show Complex and Harrisburg Area Community College.

Zaver estimated the project would cost $8 million to $10 million. If his plan is approved by the city, Zaver said, he would like to break ground in August or September and open in late 2007 or January 2008.

"The Farm Show is a great draw," he said. "We had this land and we are able to propose this."

Zaver is to unveil his plan at a Harrisburg Planning Commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. today in the public safety room on the second floor of city hall.

Zaver also is proposing a subdivision of his land at 2601 Industrial Road that would create a 2.5-acre tract he intends to sell to a restaurant franchise.

Bill Gladstone, a commercial real estate agent for NAI/CIR, which is listing the property, said a restaurant specializing in breakfast and lunch would make the most sense for the area.

"That's the trade that's there," he said, noting that he's not ruling out anything.

Staybridge Suites is the franchise that was part of a proposal last year by Crossgates Inc. of Harrisburg to build a 150-room, suites-style hotel and conference center on the Farm Show grounds.

The state would have sold five acres at the northeastern end of the Farm Show Complex to Crossgates for $550,000. But state Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, R-Dauphin County, persuaded the State Government Committee to postpone the vote, citing concerns about parking and other issues.

Crossgates officials said the delay was too long to hold the company's deal with the hotel franchise.

After considering several hotel brands for his project, Zaver said he found Staybridge the best.

"Staybridge is a great product," he said. "An extended-stay hotel is the best fit for that location."

Staybridge, a national chain with about 100 hotels, bills itself as the "upscale suites hotel," with every room featuring a full kitchen.

A second hotel project wilted this year when the developer of a proposed 95-room Comfort Inn Suites Hotel at 1017-1033 Maclay St. was unable to close on the property.

Donald H. Erwin, president of Insite Development of Mechanicsburg, said he had attempted two closings on the land at the agreed-upon price. The tract is across from the southern end of the Farm Show grounds. Erwin has said he is still committed to building a hotel near the Farm Show, but not necessarily at the Maclay Street site.

Another hotel has been proposed for a site about a mile away, off Kohn Road and along Interstate 81 in Susquehanna Twp.

Lower Paxton Twp. developer Rick Szeles, managing partner of Szeles Real Estate Development Co., said he hopes to start building the 100-room hotel and office buildings in 2007.
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  #1372  
Old Posted May 3, 2006, 12:55 PM
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This is and has always been one of my favorite attributes of Harrisburg and I am glad to see we are still at the top of our game.


NEWS INFORMATION FROM THE OFFICE OF MAYOR STEPHEN R. REED
City of Harrisburg
King City Government Center
Harrisburg, PA 17101-1678
Telephone: 717.255.3040
FOR IMMEDIATE USE
28 April 2006

HARRISBURG NAMED TREE CITY USA FOR 19TH CONSECUTIVE YEAR; CITY ALSO RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS “GROWTH AWARD” FOR 3RD YEAR IN A ROW

Mayor Stephen R. Reed and Michael B. Lester, Assistant State Forester in the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Bureau of Forestry, helped mark the city’s 19th consecutive annual designation as a Tree City USA by planting 19 trees at parks and playgrounds around the city. The city also received the National Arbor Day Foundation’s prestigious “Growth Award” for the 3rd consecutive year, in recognition of its ongoing tree management program.

Reed said the city has undertaken extensive tree planting efforts over the years, including one project last year when more than 120 new trees were planted, many by volunteer employees of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, largely to replace dead or dying trees citywide. Trees are also routinely planted as part of parks improve- ment, economic development and transportation projects.

Reed said with the 150th Anniversary of Harrisburg’s changeover from a borough to a city occurring in 2010, one of the sesquicentennial projects to be undertaken over the next several years will be the planting of at least 2000 trees, to be completed in 2010 as a legacy project commemorating the occasion.

Additionally, the Mayor announced, the city is now receiving a $10,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Urban and Community Forestry Council and the U.S. Forest Service, as part of the America the Beautiful Program, and will be used for tree maintenance training and planting additional trees.

The Mayor said some of this year’s plantings will occur at 6 different city parks and playgrounds, including the 19th & Forster Street and Gorgas playgrounds, City Island, and Riverfront, Reservoir and Italian Lake Parks. Italian Lake was selected for today’s Arbor Day celebration because other upgrades are also planned for the bucolic uptown respite, which hosts thousands of visitors each year, including for the free Sunday evening concerts held each Summer.

Reed said the plantings around the city, being conducted by the Dept. of Parks and Recreation, include: 19th & Forster Sts Playgound – 2 Little Leaf Lindens; City Island - 2 Red Sunset Maples; Reservoir Park - 2 Okame Cherries, 2 Crimson King Maples and an October Glory Maple; Riverfront Park – 3 Autumn Purple Ashes; Gorgas Playground – 3 Okame Cherries and 2 Cleveland Pears; and at Italian Lake - 2 Japanese ‘Ivory Silk’ Lilacs.

In presenting the two awards to the city, Odato noted that in order to receive the honors, the city must meet multiple national standards and be formally nominated by the state Forester’s office. Considered the highest national honor for community conservation and environmental practices, Harrisburg’s nineteenth annual award leads all communities in the tri-county area for consecutive recognitions.

The Mayor also announced that the National Arbor Day Foundation has bestowed its prestigious “Growth Award’ upon Harrisburg for the third consecutive year for its longstanding tree management and maintenance efforts. Harrisburg was the first midstate community to ever receive the award three years ago, and is the only city to be so designated for three consecutive years.

The Mayor noted that the city has invested nearly $70 million in parks, playgrounds and open spaces as part of the Mayor’s Parks Improvement Program, with substantial additional investment yet planned.

Reed noted that the city also maintains a professionally trained and certified shade tree maintenance staff, which is a unit within the Department of Parks and Recreation. The city also has an actively-enforced shade tree ordinance that helps to protect, promote and preserve trees.

“Trees cool our streets and buildings, reduce airborne pollution, conserve energy, give off oxygen, beautify open space and give wildlife a home. Their presence enhances and increases property value and beauty,” Reed said. “Lasting for generations, they are literally a connection to our past, and they are a part of the legacy which we shall leave for future residents and visitors.”

The Tree City USA Program is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s National Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.
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  #1373  
Old Posted May 4, 2006, 3:13 AM
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Harrisburg seems to be getting better every day.
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  #1374  
Old Posted May 5, 2006, 1:38 PM
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Yeah, it is.


Howard Hanna firm rises to 5th in nation

Friday, May 05, 2006
BY DAN MILLER
Of The Patriot-News

Central Pennsylvania has the most promising residential real estate market anywhere in the state, says the man behind the nation's fifth-largest brokerage firm.

Howard W. "Hoddy" Hanna III, chairman and CEO of Howard Hanna Real Estate, was in Harrisburg Wednesday to tout that the Pittsburgh-based company had moved from sixth to fifth on an annual list of the 25 largest full-service brokerage firms nationwide.

The list is based on 940 firms surveyed by Real Trends, a company that monitors residential real estate.

"If we are going to rise to fourth in the country, we are going to do it here," said Hanna, whose company operates throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and West Virginia.

Hanna said the Harrisburg area is drawing a greater percentage of new move-ins than anywhere else in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. People are coming here from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., he said.

Housing and the cost of living are cheaper than in urban areas, Hanna added. Eventually, he predicted, the area will begin to draw major corporations.

Last year, Howard Hanna opened four midstate offices by acquiring its Harrisburg-area affiliate, Howard Hanna Detweiler Realty. Next month, the company will open a Derry Twp. office across from rival Coldwell Banker HomeSale Services Group.

Later this year, Howard Hanna will open offices in Carlisle and Lancaster, perhaps through acquisitions. Howard Hanna also is scouting in the Gettysburg area.

In contrast, Coldwell Banker HomeSale Services won't open new offices in the Harrisburg area this year. Instead, the company proposes to double business in each of its offices over the next two years, said Douglas W. Rebert, a principal of the company.

"Larger offices covering larger areas is more where the industry is going," Rebert said.

Lancaster-based Coldwell Banker came in at 21st on the Real Trends top 25. It is the company's first appearance in the top 25, Rebert said.
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  #1375  
Old Posted May 5, 2006, 1:40 PM
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great news about the new traffic lights...i haven't seen them yet. and i'm really glad to see some reasonable thought and private investment towards the farm show hotel. the area could definately support a hotel...maybe even two or three and help draw more conventions/exhibitions.
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  #1376  
Old Posted May 5, 2006, 6:08 PM
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Some nice looks of the "New Steelton". Can't wait to see it happen - it's badly needed.

http://www.kairosdesigngroup.net/mp.shtml
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  #1377  
Old Posted May 7, 2006, 4:24 PM
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Nice find, klingy04, thanks!
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Old Posted May 8, 2006, 2:16 PM
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I sure hope M-burg REALLY thinks about this, as "low-density" should not be considered for one of the last remaining open spaces there...

MECHANICSBURG

Builder seeks zoning change for 776 homes

Monday, May 08, 2006
BY JERRY L. GLEASON
Of The Patriot-News

The largest tract of undeveloped land in Mechanicsburg, the 185-acre Hess farm, might be closer to being developed.

The Carlino Development Group has asked the borough to change the zoning on the Hess tract so Carlino can proceed with plans for 776 housing units and a commercial area with small retail shops.

The Hess property, which is between South Market Street and Allendale Road, was a working farm until a few years ago, Mechanicsburg Manager Jonathan Stough said.

Stough said 648 single-family houses could be built on the property under the current zoning.

Carlino hasn't submitted a formal development plan, but its sketch plan proposes 776 housing units, including single-family detached houses, town houses, stacked town houses and multifamily units, and a 40,000-square-foot commercial area. It would take six to 10 years to build all the units.

As proposed, 60 acres, or about a third of the total area, would remain open space.

Carlino proposes a low-density area along the northern border of the property, similar to the single-family houses on Darla Road.

The area just north of the Hess farm was developed in the 1970s and 1980s, Stough said.

"There hasn't been a lot of residential development in the borough in 20 years," he said.

JERRY L. GLEASON: 975-9782 or jgleason@patriot-news.com

IF YOU GO

The Mechanicsburg Borough Council will hold a hearing at 6:30 p.m. June 20 to take public comment on an ordinance that would change the zoning so the development of the Hess farm could proceed.

************
In my head I am seeing Steelton looking something like Conshohocken when this is all said and done.


STEELTON

Council forms group to revitalize downtown

Monday, May 08, 2006
BY DIANA FISHLOCK
Of The Patriot-News

The Steelton Borough Council has approved creating an economic development corporation to direct the borough's $8 million, 10-year revitalization plan.

The nonprofit Steelton Economic Development Corp. will buy properties, demolish them, prepare the sites for development and reinvest the money as it sells them, said Mayor Thomas Acri and Secretary-treasurer Michael Musser II.

The seven-member corporation likely will begin meeting this month, Musser said.

"If you look under the borough code, the borough's not designed to be a developer because of all the bidding requirements," Musser said. The new corporation will be more flexible, he said.

"They will handle the development from now on. They will work in cooperation with the borough, but at the end of the day, the economic development corp will be the driving force behind the redevelopment," said Musser, who will also serve as the corporation's executive director.

The corporation's members will be Patricia A. Husic of Vartan National Bank, Joseph P. Beck Jr. of Sovereign Bank, Thomas C. Bell of Capital Mortgage Resources, Gerald K. Morrison of McNees, Wallace & Nurick, Stanley I. Rapp of Greenlee Partners, Charles H. Wallace Jr. of Wallace Funeral Directors Inc., and a representative from the Dauphin County Department of Community and Economic Development.

"They have a lot of excitement, a lot of energy, and they like a challenge," Musser said. "Attaching their names to the project brings a ton of credibility to the project right off the bat."

The members have financial backgrounds; experience with developers; and legal, political and real estate knowledge, Musser said. "That's usually what it takes to put together a project and make it successful," he said.

The corporation members are volunteers, he said.

The Borough Council will provide the corporation $50,000 to get started, said Musser, who hopes a few individuals will also contribute.

Steelton might or might not need an economic development corporation, said David Black, CEO and president of the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and the Capital Region Economic Corp.

"It depends on funding streams as much as anything," he said. "A lot of the traditional downtown programs are exclusive for boroughs. Economic development corporations can't apply for them."

But the corporation could buy property and hold it separately from borough assets, Black said. "It wouldn't be a liability on the borough. If they want to eventually become a developer of Steelton, it makes sense."

Often municipalities don't use economic development corporations as much as they anticipate because private developers step up to the plate, Black said.

"We were just hoping to have one investor, and we'd see a domino effect," Acri said. "That's not what's happening. There's a lot of people coming forward."

There are a lot of mixed emotions about downtown business owners needing to move, Acri said.

"We're going to work hard to keep them in our community, to find places for them," the mayor said. "Some can move into the new storefronts. Some we're going to have to find some new locations for them. We don't want any of them to leave. We just need their property to make this work."

The 8-acre tract between Front Street and Mittal Steel, slated to become a business park, includes some smaller businesses and about 10 families living in apartments above the storefronts, Acri said.

Borough officials say there are no plans to use eminent domain to obtain land for the project.
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  #1379  
Old Posted May 9, 2006, 12:57 PM
EastSideHBG's Avatar
EastSideHBG EastSideHBG is offline
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They showed the rendering on the news last night. All I can say is W O W!!!


A GRAND ENTRANCE

Harrisburg unveils its largest-ever development plan for I-83 gateway

Tuesday, May 09, 2006
BY JOHN LUCIEW
Of The Patriot-News

It started out as just another road project, an idea to provide a new link between Interstate 83 and Harrisburg's downtown.

Now, the so-called southern gateway project is being billed as a pathway to as much as $1 billion in commercial and residential development clustered in an underdeveloped area just south of downtown.

"This is unquestionably the largest and most comprehensive redevelopment plan ever conceived for downtown Harrisburg and may be one of the largest such projects ever proposed in the state," Mayor Stephen R. Reed said in outlining the project's first phase yesterday.

"This involves the complete transformation of dozens of acres of currently inaccessible downtown land and provides two magnificent new entranceways into Pennsylvania's capital city."

It would start with a $75 million road project that would extend South Third Street from Chestnut Street to Paxton Street, easing traffic congestion and providing a new avenue of entry to downtown.

Meanwhile, Paxton Street would be widened, realigned and improved. A bridge would carry its traffic over Second Street, and Paxton Street would have new intersections with Front and Third streets.

Plans for the road construction are in final design, Reed said, but he added that construction is about three years away.

He said the city would need state and federal money for much of the $75 million in construction costs.

Once begun, work on the project would take three years to complete, minimizing traffic disruptions.

The new roads would just be the beginning.

Reed said the project would open up about 35 acres of underutilized land at the southern end of Harrisburg's center city, virtually doubling the size of downtown.

The most ambitious portion of the long-range development plans involves constructing a raised platform that would cover several blocks of South Second Street and the surrounding land. Buildings would be constructed on top of the platform, while traffic and parking would be ushered underneath it.

Reed said this platform would lift the new construction out of the floodplain and maximize the amount of development that can take place.

No cost figures were available for this phase of the project. City engineer Joe Link said most of the money would have to come from private developers.

Link said the city likely would pass zoning ordinances to control development of the area.

"We don't want to start seeing a building here and a building there," Link said.

The City Council would have to approve the development plans. Councilman Dan Miller, the chairman of the committee overseeing zoning changes, pledged his support.

"I'll do what I can to help keep it expedited and on track," he said.

Dauphin County Commission Chairman Jeff Haste said he would, too. He praised the vision for downtown.

"The scope of this project made me say 'wow,'" Haste said. "I don't think anybody can really understand the magnitude of this. It will make this capital city a capital city like no other."

The city's northern end also is in line for major traffic improvements, centered on North Seventh Street.

Work on a northern gateway is expected to begin this summer and be done in about two years, Reed said. It involves widening North Seventh Street from Reily Street to Maclay Street, creating a northern exit from the city.

The project would remove commuter traffic from residential sections of North Second Street, where homes are increasing in value and families are returning.

North Second Street is the main exit from downtown, a three-lane, one-way road that Reed said "divides" one of the city's most attractive neighborhoods.

But with a widened Seventh Street providing a new exit to Maclay Street and Interstate 81, North Second Street would be restored to a two-way road and the residential section would be calmed, Reed said.

Along the wider Seventh Street, there would be new sidewalks, antique-style streetlights, and traffic signals.

Reed said he hopes new development would follow along Seventh Street, spurring growth in another underdeveloped and often-overlooked section of the city.
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  #1380  
Old Posted May 9, 2006, 11:30 PM
Spudmrg Spudmrg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastSideHBG
The most ambitious portion of the long-range development plans involves constructing a raised platform that would cover several blocks of South Second Street and the surrounding land. Buildings would be constructed on top of the platform, while traffic and parking would be ushered underneath it.
I love this idea! It's about time that we put the parking where it belongs....below productive space. Harrisburg will be a city where people are the priority at "street level", not cars (which are not really that useful in a true urban area). 2 thumbs up!
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