Another downtown apartment project received the official go-ahead tonight, as Harrisburg City Council agreed to a residential conversion on Pine Street.
Council voted 5-1 to allow Harristown Enterprises to proceed with converting the circa-1952 office building at 124 Pine St. to a 25-unit apartment building with commercial space on the first floor.
The lone no vote came from council President Wanda Williams, who stated that she would refuse to vote affirmatively on future Harristown projects until she was satisfied that they contained what she considers to be affordable units.
“I will not be voting for any of these projects,” she said.
With the affirmative vote, Harristown can move forward with purchasing the six-story, 30,000-square-foot building from current owner Keystone Human Services, which has it on the market for $1.5 million.
Once the sale is complete, Keystone is expected to lease the building until it can find a new home, meaning that the office-to-residential conversion probably won’t begin until early 2019, according to Harristown CEO Brad Jones.
The Pine Street project, Jones has said, will consist of 18 one-bedroom and seven two-bedroom units that will range from about 700 to 850 square feet in size. He expects rents to be about $1,095 to $1,395 a month. The project includes 19 off-street parking spaces, which would be rented separately.
Over the past few years, Harristown has converted several other downtown office buildings to residential use, adding about 60 apartment units in all.
At tonight’s meeting, City Council also approved a resolution that will allow broadcaster ABC27 to construct a 3,500-square-foot addition to its Uptown Harrisburg building. The project entails consolidating three parcels at 3235 Hoffman St. and at 560 and 600 Alricks St., demolishing several existing structures on the Alricks Street parcels and adding to the main building on Hoffman Street.
In other action, council passed an “aerial easement agreement” with Harristown, allowing the company to continue to string about 580 lights over S. 3rd Street between Market and Chestnut streets. Harristown hung the lights last year after receiving temporary authorization from the city. Since then, several evening block parties have been hosted on the street.
Council also approved a $2 million, 10-year loan from the state Department of Transportation Infrastructure Bank to fund the repair and improvement of streets, including accessibility upgrades, in south Harrisburg.
Lastly, council passed a resolution allowing New York-based Smart City Media to install about 25 digital kiosks in downtown and Midtown Harrisburg. The kiosks will display city-based information such as events, businesses, dining options, schedules and history, with Smart City footing the $100,000 cost per kiosk, said Councilman Cornelius Johnson. The displays will contain advertising, with the revenue split between the company and the city, he said.
“This is also a revenue driver for the city,” Johnson said.