Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Modernism, Modernized: Executive House zips ahead after major renovation.

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 11.54.50 AMDowntown Harrisburg has numerous architectural styles: from federal to Victorian to art deco and more.

Like in most cities, modernism began to take root after World War II, and today, it may be best expressed by Executive House, a 14-story high rise at S. 2nd and Chestnut streets.

But even “modernist” buildings age and change. So, for more than a year, Executive House has undergone perhaps its most extensive update since its construction as a mixed-use building in 1967.

“Executive House was one of the top buildings in the city when it was built,” said Regional Leasing Director Isaac Naon. “The way it was structured, the top floors were residential, and the first three floors were used as commercial space by the government. Within the past year and a half, the commercial space was vacated, and we decided to convert those floors into apartments.”

Designs for the new apartments utilize every inch of the former office space, now renamed the Executive Floors.

“We wanted a modern city look like you would find in New York,” explained Construction Superintendent Brad Zimmerman.

The Executive Floors have three different types of apartments: lofts that are a single open space, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms. Each apartment has a different layout to make the most out of the available space.

“Executive House is truly a city building, for anyone who is used to living in the middle of everything,” added Naon.

Renovations to Executive House began in February 2012 with the complete demolition of the first three floors.

“It has been a really intense process where we’re re-doing everything,” said Naon. “When someone moves in, they’re not getting an apartment which has been touched up. This is real, top-to-bottom renovation.”

In fact, the rooms’ height is the only feature maintained from their original design, with 10-foot ceilings and 6-foot windows providing open, light-filled environments.

The apartments’ interiors are completely new. Kitchens feature porcelain-tiled floors, granite countertops and stainless steel EnergyStar appliances, while bedrooms are carpeted wall-to-wall, with granite windowsills and spacious closets.

“We tore the floors out, the heating and cooling units, all the windows, all the doors—everything,” said Zimmerman. “Everything has been removed and replaced with new, modern equipment.”

The renovations also extended to Executive House’s communal areas, including a business center, gym and lounge, as well as upgrades to the building’s entrance. These are the most dramatic changes to the building during the two-decade service of Ann-Marie Ramsey, the building’s property manager.

“The main lobby looks like a hotel now, with fireplaces, a fountain and designer furnishings, so visitors receive a high-end experience from the moment they walk in the building,” said Naon.

A second private entrance has also been installed in the back of the building, exclusively serving the Executive Floors. Residents also have discounted access to Executive House’s five-story indoor parking lot, as well as in-house storage options.

“People coming to us are not finding anything similar,” said Naon. “Executive House offers apartments that have unseen, unmatched quality for the area.”

Executive House’s transformation of commercial property into a modern living space highlights the ongoing revitalization of downtown Harrisburg as a desirable location to live as well as work, said Naon.

“In the past few years, downtown and 2nd Street have definitely improved and keep getting better,” he said. “Our building is well-suited for professionals who need close proximity to work, the stores, the restaurants, the bars and the entire city life experience, all while living in a safe, nice, new environment.”

Executive House is at 101 S. 2nd St., Harrisburg. Loft, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom apartments are available for rent, with the final phase of apartments opening within the year. Prospective residents can speak with a leasing agent seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., by calling 717-347-4949. Find more at

Continue Reading