Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harristown plans to purchase Skarlatos building, as law firm relocates to Strawberry Square

The two downtown parcels that make up Harristown’s redevelopment project.

A downtown Harrisburg building project has changed significantly, as a developer now has plans to purchase and renovate the building next door.

Harristown Enterprises expects to close this fall on the purchase of 17 S. Market Sq., currently the home of the SkarlatosZonarich law firm, said Harristown CEO Brad Jones. A full renovation of the century-old, 33,809-square-foot building will follow.

“We’re still evaluating the uses of that building,” Jones said. “We think it’s going to become a mixed-used project.”

Last year, Harristown bought the neighboring building, a small, dilapidated, early 19th-century office and retail building at 21 S. 2nd St., which notably once housed the Coronet restaurant.

It razed that building, with expectations to construct a new office building and attach it internally to the SkarlatosZonarich property. However, according to Jones, the plan changed after continuing discussions with the law firm.

“As we began to talk more, they indicated they were more interested in selling the building,” Jones said.

As a result, SkarlatosZonarich now will sell their Market Square building to Harristown and relocate to the Bowman Tower in Strawberry Square, which is also owned by Harristown.

“We are excited to be a part of a new era of businesses in the Bowman Tower in Strawberry Square—an environment that will enhance the quality of legal services we deliver to our clients as well as the lives of our employees,” said John B. Zonarich, a partner with SkarlatosZonarich.

In January, the firm’s 35 employees will move into about 11,000 square feet of office space, about double their current footprint, following a $1 million renovation, Jones said. After the relocation, Strawberry Square will have an office vacancy rate of only about 5 percent, he said.

Jones said that plans are still in flux for the redevelopment project at Market Square, but he expects a mixed use of residential, office and retail, with residential more likely for 17 S. Market Sq. and office more likely for 21 S. 2nd St.

Last month, the project received a $1 million grant from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

Jones declined to state the purchase price of 17 S. Market Sq. Harristown bought 21 S. 2nd St. last year for $150,000, but that building was far smaller and in much worse shape than the adjacent building, which SkarlatosZonarich bought in 2004 for almost $1.9 million, according to Dauphin County property records.

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