Harsco Corporation Turning Little Used Site Near Capitol Into Regional Warehouse And Distribution Center

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The City of Harrisburg is going to benefit from more urban renewal when Harsco Corporation turns a 21-acre site near the Pennsylvania State Capitol into a regional warehouse and distribution center.

The number of jobs created is relatively small at 20; however the site gets cleaned up and given a purpose.  Considering its proximity to our State Capitol Complex, this is good news as it will enhance the appearance the area surrounding the capitol.  Harsco is spending $2 million to renovate the site which is a significant investment in the City of Harrisburg.  The improvements should be completed by April.

More good news is that Harsco will be relocating 35 senior-level positions to a new site near its Camp Hill headquarters.  This move will help Harsco’s leadership function as a more unified team.

To learn more about this company, you may click on their website:

http://www.harsco.com/

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One Of My Adaptive Reuse Posts Catches Eye Of Scranton Mayor

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This is one of those moments that makes sitting here blogging away every day worth the effort.

I wrote a post for Code Blue’s The Pulse blog about an adaptive reuse project, here in Pottstown, that would transform the old armory building on King Street into luxury apartments.  This would be significant as there are several other projects lining up along the same lines.  If this project is successful, it could jump-start redevelopment in the central core neighborhood.

As an example of adaptive reuse in a central downtown neighborhood, I cited the Connell Building project in Scranton‘s central business district.  My post and reference to Scranton’s renaissance caught the eye of Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty.  As a result, I am traveling to Scranton on Tuesday to meet Mayor Doherty and get the mayoral tour of Central Scranton.  I am more than a little excited!

Here is a link to my post about the armory project:

http://codebluepulse.blogspot.com/2011/01/pennsylvania-state-armory-building.html

There will be a posting and lots of pictures from my trip!

Community Building In The City Of Chester – An Interview With Delco DA Michael Green

Watch a short but inspiring video with Delaware County District Attorney Michael Green regarding what the DA’s office feels is needed to bring Chester back.

Former Franklin Mint Site In Delaware County Being Eyed For Planned Community

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A 173-acre site, that includes the former Franklin Mint in Middletown, Delaware County, will become a planned community if developers have their way.  The mint site and two other adjacent properties will be developed into a new “walkable community”.  This project would take 5 – 10 years to complete and would feature 1,253 homes, 798,000 square feet of commercial space, 235,000 square feet of office space and a 225-room hotel.

The new community would enable residents to live, work and play in the same place.  This “town center” concept is becoming very popular.  Construction would create 4,748 jobs.  The number of permanent jobs this project would bring to Middletown is estimated at 2,800!

Tax revenue generated from this project, for the borough, school district and county, would be over $8.1 million!  The Franklin Mint, Middletown site has been closed since 2004.

Public hearings have already started and developers stated they are willing to hold as many hearings as it takes.  500 people attended last night’s legislative hearing.  The Franklin Mint redevelopment project is endorsed by the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance and the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.

The project is strongly opposed by a group called Save Middletown.

Here is a link to the developer’s website that will answer many questions you might have about the project:
http://www.transformingthemint.com/index.htm

Here is the Save Middletown website:
http://www.ourmiddletown.org/index_files/fms

You can read both sides and draw your own conclusions.

Center City Living In Scranton Is Taking Off

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The demand for Center City Scranton housing is heating up.  Another blighted landmark building in Central Scranton is being converted into more than 35 apartments with retail space on the first floor.  The 5-story Chamber of Commerce Building was built in grand style in 1926.  Brass rails, marble floors, 14-foot tall built-in bookcases and rollout doors are featured in the beautiful interior.  The building served the Scranton Chamber of Commerce until 1998.

Developer Charlie Jefferson, is the force behind this transformation.  Jefferson was also responsible for the Connell Building’s transformation into loft apartments.  All of the loft apartments were leased before anyone moved in.  Jefferson’s total investment in downtown Scranton is $35 million.  This Chamber of Commerce building sale was some where in the vicinity of $1 million according to Jefferson.

The former East Scranton Junior High School will be converted into 24 apartments.  A $3 million grant from Ed Rendell will help to transform this property into more apartments.  The school has been closed since 2001, according to a Facebook alumni page.

The construction of The Commonwealth Medical College is going to drive demand for 600 additional apartments in central Scranton in the next five years.  The amount of recent development in Scranton has been astonishing given the economic downtown during the last several years.  An increased population in the central business district will spawn the need for stores, restaurants, clubs and services like banks, dry cleaners, grocery stores and other conveniences for residents.  The Commonwealth Medical College is building an 180,000 square foot building in downtown Scranton that is opening this year.  The new facility will house the school’s educational and research programs.

Mayor Chris Doherty said “the success of the city will come from life downtown, and the trend is well on its way.”

Midtown Harrisburg Becoming Arts And Cultural District: Susquehanna Art Museum Moving To Midtown

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A vacant property is set to become the new home of the Susquehanna Art Museum in Midtown Harrisburg.  Midtown is a neighborhood in transition.  If you recall my 3rd in the Burg post, I touched on Harrisburg’s emerging arts and cultural scene.  This neighborhood has become a focal point of urban renewal and revitalization by making itself a “destination” that is attracting people to Harrisburg.

Millions of dollars are being poured into Midtown redevelopment.  Creative business owners like Midtown Scholar Bookstore, Midtown Cinema, Midtown Harrisburg Arts Center and a growing list of restaurants and cafés are also leading the way.  The addition of the Susquehanna Art Museum will strengthen the fledgling district and attract more business to the area.  Having events like 3rd in the Burg already in place will only accelerate revitalization efforts.

Another huge addition to Midtown will be the new federal courthouse that will break ground in 2013.  The $130 million building will bring an influx of workers into the neighborhood that have disposable income to spend on things like food and arts/culture, along with other businesses that will sprout up as the result of all this development.  The site of the new federal courthouse is now a parking lot.

GreenWorks Development has been busy spending redevelopment dollars in Midtown.  They own a large amount of property in the neighborhood, including the new museum site.  In addition to the $50 million they have spent thus far, they plan to spend another $75 million on future projects.  Harrisburg Area Community College and Fulton Bank have already benefited from GreenWorks’ projects.  A four-story Campus Green building, costing $14.3 million, is another project that has benefited Midtown.  GreenWorks is also involved with residential development by creating affordable and market-priced housing in Midtown, which will be critical for Midtown’s continued redevelopment.

Midtown Development has also been a player in this neighborhood’s revitalization efforts by renovating blighted properties.

Local business owners and residents are optimistic.  Most see a bright future for Midtown.  There are always some skeptics and detractors, but the majority of residents see these changes as taking their neighborhood in the right direction.  There is still a long road ahead and things take time, but tangible progress is being made to revitalize Midtown Harrisburg and make it “the place to be” in Pennsylvania’s capital city.

Business Incubator Hatches At York College

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I am always excited to report on these things! 

The 7,100-square-foot Kings Mill Depot is now open to any for-profit corporations in the start-up phase, small businesses entering a growth phase or existing companies launching new projects.  The best part is that the incubator is for firms dealing with technology, health care, sciences or engineering.  The incubator is all about creating good paying jobs that have a high growth potential.  Lord knows Pennsylvania needs decent paying jobs that will support families!

Applications are being accepted through the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship at York College.  Faculty, staff and students are available to help with business development! 

Contact Jeff Vermeulen at (717) 815-6639 if your firm would like to take advantage of the awesome opportunity!

Bethlehem also has a very successful job incubator at Lehigh University.  You can also read about that here: http://roysrants.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/bethlehem-job-incubator-recepient-of-6-million-dollar-federal-recovery-act-grant/