Monday, December 11, 2017

York PA takes the prize!

One of the many good things the advocacy group “10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania” does is to hand out annual “Commonwealth Awards” recognizing the state’s best Smart Growth developments (full disclosure: 10,000 Friends is a client of mine).
This year’s awards celebrated the great stuff happening in York PA.
York is a mid-size city (~40,000 city, ~100,000 metro) with an industrial past, urban texture, lots of empty rustbelt-type buildings, AND several dynamic and successful redevelopment schemes.  The awards ceremony testified to the vitality of public-sector, developer, and nonprofit initiatives.
The full list of awardees will be posted on the 10,000Friends website, but here are some of my personal favorites:
·      York College has restored and renovated a classic townhouse (the former Lafayette Club) in the center of the city to serve as the college’s “downtown foothold,” housing its community engagement center and various town/gown programs.
·      Warehaus” – an “interdisciplinary design firm with deep industrial roots” – has renovated an old plumbing supply warehouse into a modern, LEED-platinum, industrial-style headquarters, complete with ground-level commercial development.
·      Another old industrial site – the Keystone ColorWorks – is being transformed into a residential site, with 29 high-end, loft-style units, complete with a fitness center and a green rooftop deck overlooking the Codorus Creek.
·      The “Think Loud” development – in another industrial setting – includes a world-class recording studio (home to the York rock band LIVE) and space for startups.
·      The big award winner was the “Royal SquareDistrict,” a four-block area transformed by RSDC developers into a mixed-use neighborhood with art galleries, restaurants (including a space for popup restaurants), shops, a brewpub, and a wedding and event venue.

Congrats to York for its many successful redevelopment schemes – and to 10,000 Friends for spotlighting them!

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