Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

February News Digest

Jackson Hotel Collapses

The history-rich Jackson Hotel partially collapsed last month and then was razed to prevent further danger.

Harrisburg Commercial Interiors was working to stabilize the building, located on the 1000-block of N. 6th Street, when the situation became unsafe, according to owner Matt Long. Workers were able to get to safety before the wall facing Herr Street collapsed, Long said.

Staff and customers at the neighboring Jackson House restaurant saw falling bricks hit cars and damage the restaurant’s roof and sign, said owner Dave Kegris. Within a few hours, Long began to demolish the rest of the building for safety.

The circa-1884 Jackson Hotel once catered to African-American patrons who were denied service in Harrisburg’s white-only hotels. When long-time owner German Jackson died in 1998, the building was boarded up and has remained empty since.

In his will, Jackson left the building to Kegris, who owned it until 2015. Since then, the building has changed hands several times and, for the past few years, prominently featured a mural celebrating local Black history.

Over this time, few renovations were done and, eventually, the building’s roof caved in, and the back of the building collapsed. The interior of the building pancaked, leaving it in rubble, and the city condemned it.

Long purchased the building in 2018 with plans to stabilize the foundation and construct a completely new interior and roof. He intended to create apartments and commercial space.

Long said that he now plans to build an entirely new structure on the site, closely replicating the original Jackson Hotel building.



Theater Renovation to Start

Friends of the West Shore Theatre last month announced that they had secured enough funding to begin renovation of the 80-year-old theater in New Cumberland.

The group, as well as borough officials, gathered under the building’s signature marquee to celebrate significant progress in fundraising.

“We realized the value of trying to restore and keep this theater here in New Cumberland,” Mayor Doug Morrow said. “The funding is in place. We are moving forward.”

The West Shore Theatre opened in 1940 with 25-cent tickets. It remained a beloved, small-town theater for years before its doors closed in 2015. Friends of the West Shore Theatre eventually acquired it and began planning to bring it back to life.

Morrow announced that, with several new grants, the board has raised $1.4 million of the $2 million needed for the renovation.

The most significant chunk of funds was $650,000 from the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP). The PA Department of Community and Economic Development also awarded a $250,000 grant for the project. Other local foundations provided grants, as well.

An extensive renovation is planned, including adding seating and a standing lounge area, stage improvements, new equipment and other upgrades.

Additions to the back of the theater, such as green rooms and classrooms, will likely happen a year after it opens to the public, said Dan Burke of Friends of the West Shore Theatre.

Morrow added that they intend to use the theater for showing movies, live performances, theater classes and community group meetings.


Apartment Plan for Midtown Building

A Harrisburg resident has his eye on one of the last dilapidated commercial buildings in Midtown, with plans to turn it into a small apartment building.

Nathaniel Foote has a contract to buy the former Gerber’s Department Store—also known as the “Carpets and Draperies” building for the sign on the front façade—on the 1500-block of N. 3rd Street.

His plan calls for a five-unit apartment building, along with first-floor commercial space, in the 4,800-square-foot, three-story brick structure.

“I live in the neighborhood,” he said. “I want to see the property restored.”

Foote is an attorney who owns two duplexes in Midtown and, along with his father, a parking facility. He said that his interest in the building arose simply from walking past it nearly every day, so that eventually he called the listing agent for the property.

“I’m not an out-of-town developer looking to make a buck,” he said, estimating that construction will cost about $500,000. “The cost is substantial given the number of units you can get out of it.”

Schnecksville, Pa.-based Mussani & Matz Co. has owned the century-old building since 2007, but it’s sat empty and increasingly blighted for most of that time. It’s been on the sales market for the last few years.

Six years ago, two Harrisburg residents proposed turning the building into a craft distillery, but that project was abandoned after it failed to gain approval of the city’s Zoning Hearing Board.

Foote said that he’s encouraged by a spate of development proposals for the immediate  area. Over the past year, several developers have proposed projects for the Reily Street corridor, but none have broken ground yet.

Foote’s plan calls for all two-bedroom units, which would range in size from 750 to 2,000 square feet, along with a 1,000-square-foot commercial space on the ground floor. He expects that he would live in the largest unit on the third floor.

Rents would range from about $1,000 a month to about $1,400 a month, he said, depending on unit size.

Foote expects to put the project on the agenda for the city’s Planning Commission and Zoning Hearing Board for their February meetings. If the project gains city approval, he hopes to start construction in March for completion by year-end.

The interior is gutted, so it would need to be completely rebuilt, Foote said. He plans for Harrisburg Commercial Interiors to do the construction. The notable “Carpets and Draperies” sign would be restored as part of the project, he said.

The building does not have its own off-street parking, but is surrounded by surface parking lots. Foote said that he expects to lease parking spaces from one of the lot owners.


Classrooms May Reopen

Harrisburg School District officials may be closer to welcoming some students back into school buildings.

If COVID-19 cases continue to decrease in the district, small cohorts of students could resume brick-and-mortar learning in March, Acting Superintendent Chris Celmer said last month.

“This is our hope, this is our wish,” he said. “This is what we want to see hopefully happen.”

He said that the focus would be on returning special education and elementary students to the buildings first, as well as other cohorts of students that the district determines are struggling the most.

The district has been operating with a 100% virtual learning model since the beginning of the school year. From the start, administrators have been looking for Dauphin County to meet certain benchmarks in order to bring students back to the buildings. Celmer said that they are still using those markers to determine if they will allow these small groups back to school buildings in March.

These include reduced positivity rates, below 10%, and incidence rates per 100,000 residents trending downward to a daily rate of 100 or less. He also wants to see the wastewater epidemiology tracker, Biobot, project Harrisburg virus cases closer to 100 or less per day.


December Home Sales Strong

Harrisburg-area home sales rose considerably in December, capping off a strong year for the local real estate market.

Home sales totaled 744 units compared to 611 units in December 2019 for the three-county region, while the median price rose to $217,750 versus $187,500 in the year-ago period, according to the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors (GHAR).

Dauphin County had 348 sales compared to 279 the previous December, as the median price rose by $20,000 to $185,000, GHAR said.

In Cumberland County, 353 homes sold versus 287 a year ago as the median price increased to $244,820 versus $215,000 the prior December.

Perry County saw monthly sales of 40 units compared to 22 units in December 2019, as the median price dropped a bit to $179,900 from $182,500, GHAR said.

Houses were also selling quickly. The average days on the market plummeted to just 26 days compared to 46 days in December 2019, according to GHAR.

The Harrisburg-area real estate market was strong throughout 2020, especially after pandemic-related restrictions were lifted in May.


So Noted

Civic Club of Harrisburg is seeking donations after thieves stole an air conditioner and caused damage last month to their historic riverfront home, Overlook. To donate to the club’s Vandalism Relief Fund or get more information about the club, contact President Mary Beth Lehtimaki at

CommUNITY Yoga Space has moved a few doors down to a new, larger space at 1423 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg. Erika Malorzo opened the pay-what-you-can yoga studio over two years ago, and recently had to move following the sale of the building that housed her original space.

Harrisburg last month announced that it is requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for city workers. Mayor Eric Papenfuse signed an executive order requiring municipal employees to get the vaccination as quickly as possible in accordance with the state’s distribution guidance.

Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC last month named their board chairs for 2021. Meron Yemane of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management will head up the Chamber’s board, while Mike Funck of Wohlsen Construction will lead CREDC’s board. The two boards also named new officers for the year.

Harrisburg University last month announced that it had successfully sold $100 million in tax-exempt bonds to institutional investors. The money is being used to finance construction of its 11-story academic building at S. 3rd and Chestnut streets in downtown Harrisburg.


Changing Hands

Adrian St., 2258: D. Bryant to J. & J. Parker, $72,000

Alricks St., 650: Consolidated Holdings International LLC to D&F Realty Holdings LP, $30,000

Bellevue Rd., 2000: G. & N. Payne to E. Gonzalez, $95,000

Boas St., 217: J. & C. Kuntz to L. Wood & T. Miller, $109,900

Boas St., 222: N. Laudeman to F. Cossick, $112,500

Boas St., 264: J. & S. Sempeles to Westfall Real Estate LLC, $185,000

Boas St., 1930: CR Property Group LLC to I. Lenny, $139,000

Calder St., 215: J. Zehring to M. & A. Zehring, $71,500

Camp St., 632: M., A. & C. Little and D. Anderson to D. & J. Porter, $57,000

Chestnut St., 1200, 1202, 1204, 1206 & 1208: Round Rock Investments LLC to 101 S. 17th Street LLC, $450,000

Chestnut St., 2112: S. Siciliano to M. Cragle & S. Hughes, $226,900

Croyden Rd., 2807: S. Camaplan LLC FBO Mark Murdoch IRA to A. Blackwell, $100,000

Cumberland St., 213: V. Lefkowitz to W. Hoover & B. Shoemaker, $105,000

Derry St., 1248: Jackson Investment Properties LLC to E. Kelly & M. Alarcon, $55,000

Derry St., 2309: S. Gutshall to A. Nunez & J. Espihal, $73,000

Derry St., 2411: B. Ahmed to B. Arismendy, $46,000

Derry St., 2532 & 2534: K. & R. Gupta to Around the Corner LLC, $163,700

Edwards St., 260: Realm Properties to C. & K. Gehman, $360,000

Emerald St., 233: D. Welliver & R. Harpster to J. & S. Compton, $65,000

Emerald St., 652: D. Fernandez to Z. Williams & B. Jones, $99,900

Evergreen St., 319: NA Capital Group LLC to A. Rivera, $60,000

Forster St., 1928: M. Bair to B. Arias, $66,000

Green St., 2410: KTT Properties LLC to T. Meriweather & S. Nichols, $160,000

Green St., 3230: C. & L. Summerscales to G. Holmes, $130,000

Harris St., 414½: Ravo Rentals to Limitless Possibilities LLC, $50,000

Herr St., 217: K. & V. Land to A. & C. Greenblatt, $180,000

Herr St., 421: F. Washington to T. Ladas & S. Maykovich, $60,000

Herr St., 1726: Mango Properties to Gold Key Properties LLC, $50,000

Holly St., 1914: D. Berhe to SPG Capital LLC, $44,000

Hudson St., 1147: R. Vega & A. Marsico to C. Yourkavitch, $125,000

Kensington St., 2347: T. Thai to C. Grant & M. Rinaldi, $65,000

Kensington St., 2365: H. Grills to C. Woods, $53,500

Kensington St., 2366: J. Robinson Jr. to L. Stewart, $70,000

Lewis St., 327: L. Seidel to 327 Lewis LLC, $76,500

Logan St., 2141: KBT Enterprises to E. Alcantara, $30,000

Maclay St., 239: M. Nelson to Awesome Tenants LLC, $73,500

Manada St., 2003: C. Holvick to Henderson & Sons LLC, $32,500

Market St., 1819: M. Kearney to 77 Estate LLC, $35,000

Market St., 1903: CAR Property Holdings LLC to W. Cajina, $89,337

Market St., 2407: J. Brown to K. Parker, $142,000

Mulberry St., 1820: Alternative Rehabilitation to Archie Group LLC, $160,000

Nagle St., 119 & 709 Showers St.: J. Baer & A. Jury to V. & B. Wagner, $262,599

N. 2nd St., 610: Wyco Investments LLC to N&R Group LLC, $175,000

N. 2nd St., 2304: L. Rapaport to T. Brown, $269,500

N. 2nd St., 2809: W. & E. Steele to E. Larios, $162,000

N. 2nd St., 2830: Equity Trust Co. Custodian Julie L. Burns IRA to J. Davis, $72,500

N. 3rd St., 1201: C. Hull to R. & C. Steele, $100,000

N. 3rd St., 1417½: Long Life LLC to Heinly Homes LLC, $130,000

N. 3rd St., 1624: Sickler Properties LLC to SJL Rentals LLC, $155,000

N. 3rd St., 1820: MMLM Realty LLC & Ian Smith Contracting Inc. to DPS Properties LLC, $150,000

N. 3rd St., 1825: D. Totton to Community First Realty, $45,000

N. 4th St., 2110: A. Clay and M. & M. Corney to NA Capital Group LLC, $30,000

N. 4th St., 3118: M. Shank to J. Kilby & J. Vargas, $105,000

N. 5th St., 1624: B. Davis to K. O’Brian, $168,000

N. 5th St., 1628: Braemer Properties LLC to B. Butzer, $142,500

N. 5th St., 1720: Freedom Mortgage Corp. to Principium LLC, $123,500

N. 6th St., 2720: L. Brown to T. Hardison, $35,000

N. 6th St., 3156: Dobson Family Partnership to J. Ulloa & A. Villar, $80,500

N. 7th St., 3133 & 3205 and 651 Alricks St.: Consolidated Holdings International LLC to DAP 3250 LP, $1,000,000

N. 15th St., 1119: J. & M. Irvin to J. Irvin, $60,000

N. 18th St., 808: C. Lovejoy, M. Miller & PA Property Brothers LLC to G. Almonte, $44,000

N. 19th St., 49: M. McWilliams to Carters Clean Up LLC, $58,000

N. Front St., 1525, Unit 503: Dowell Group Inc. to J. Davis, $115,000

N. Front St., 2405: J. Hartzler to Serene Spaces LLC, $320,000

N. Front St., 3207: 3207 N. Front St. LLC to S. Juneja, $370,000

Norwood St., 915: Integrity First Home Buyers LLC to G. Morris, $108,000

Park St., 1830: A. Caraballo to H. Ngoshi, $42,000

Peffer St., 221: N. Laume to Z. Brady & B. Blessing, $138,000

Peffer St., 435: K. Kessler to R. Clymer, $95,400

Penn St., 906: K. Holtzinger to J. Spatz, $136,000

Penn St., 1409: E. Lohss to J. Freeman, $107,000

Radnor St., 630: Integrity First Home Buyers LLC to G. & L. Boone, $46,000

Reel St., 2449: E. Stawitz to SJJR LLC, $48,000

Regina St., 1619: J. Colucci to N. Harris, $55,000

Rolleston St., 1027: R. Castillo & E. Martinez to F. Torres, $98,000

Ross St., 627: Gilligan Realty LLC to Sanhos LLC, $40,000

Rudy Rd., 2405: N. & L. Skulstad to D. Bradford, $174,900

Rumson Dr., 350: L. Rodriguez to M. McAllister, $128,100

Seneca St., 224: R. Boust to D. Daley, $102,990

South St., 105: A. Crompton to 608 N. Third LLC, $70,000

S. 13th St., 1451: RTD Properties & Management to S. Esayas, $75,000

S. 13th St., 1456: Integrity First Home Buyers LLC to 1456 S. 13th LLC, $100,000

S. 17th St., 319: 4P Ventures LLC to Pichardo LLC, $200,000

S. 24th St., 710: Equity Trust Co. Custodian Robert L. Burns IRA to D. Boyle, $39,000

S. 25th St., 350: B. Ho & S. Nguyen to R. Lyles Jr., $84,900

S. Front St., 333: 333 Sri Ganesh LLC to 101 S. 17th Street LLC, $250,000

S. Front St., 563: K. Bernhard & S. Schwab to T. Youngbluth, $76,000

State St., 223: 223 State St. LLC to PMA Foundation, $445,000

State St., 1310: M. Maniari & Z. Er Roudi to A. Ulerio, $83,500

State St., 1326: C. & T. Semancik to JMR Ventures LLC, $170,000

State St., 1502: S. Kochis to 77 Estate LLC, $30,000

State St., 1909: Atrium Gardens LLC to ZM Penn Group LLC, $59,000

State St., 1951: R. Shultz Jr. to Moxie Properties LLC, $225,000

State St., 2001: R. Shultz Jr. to Moxie Properties LLC, $275,000

Susquehanna St., 913: MR RE LLC to R. Perrego, $132,500

Susquehanna St., 1610: D. Lawyer & S. Flagle to R. Small, $182,500

Susquehanna St., 1708: J. Merx to J. Weinstock, $136,000

Susquehanna St., 2132: J. & C. Sanderson and A. Pletcher to L. de Gonzalez, $48,000

Susquehanna St., 2218: J. Grant to Heinly Homes LLC, $36,500

Verbeke St., 202: B. Hamilton to V. Filbert, $140,000

Verbeke St., 211: J. & S. Bircher to D. Leaman, $207,500

Waldo St., 2711: Mainline Funding Group Inc. to A. Hawkins, $47,800

Walnut St., 1500: E. Salah to J. Rodriguez, $32,800

Woodbine St., 241: G. & W. Banova to E. de Rosado, $117,500

Support quality local journalism. Become a Friend of TheBurg!

Continue Reading