Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg Council voices support for new Harrisburg University tower

Harrisburg University gave a final push on Tuesday night for its 17-story, mixed-used tower downtown, as officials offered a project presentation to City Council.

Council got a detailed look at the final design plans for the project (rendering left), which includes an academic tower, a hotel and a restaurant.

“That area where you’re building has been underutilized for many years, so thank you for that,” said Council President Wanda Williams, echoing general council support for the project.

Council is expected to vote next week on the final land use plan, which would allow HU to break ground at its site at S. 3rd and Chestnut streets, a move currently planned for August.

The $135-million project includes a 10-story hotel and restaurant, in addition to an academic tower, which would house as many as 1,000 students in health sciences, advanced manufacturing and interactive media.

The 386,200-square-foot building is expected to take two years to complete, opening in time for the 2021-22 academic year, said HU President Eric Darr. A 197-room hotel and a restaurant are also parts of the project.

The hotel will front Chestnut Street, and the hotel and academic portions of the building will be separated by an atrium in the first 10 stories of the building, according to HU.

The three portions of the building will be owned and financed separately. The university will own and finance the academic portion, estimated at $100 million. Harrisburg-based HHM will own the hotel, projected to cost $33.5 million. The restaurant, expected to cost about $1.5 million, also will be owned separately. HU has not yet announced a restaurant operator.

University officials on Tuesday emphasized the contractor events they’ve held to try to attract local workers for the complex construction project.

“We would like our efforts to go as much as possible to the development of the workforce,” said Darr, who pledged that the university would periodically release data on the makeup of the project’s workforce.

Baltimore-based Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. and Harrisburg-based Reynolds are the principal contractors for the project.

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