Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

More Residential: HBG Zoning Board OKs apartments for Tracy Mansion, downtown.

Harrisburg’s zoning board tonight approved apartment conversions for this building downtown and at Tracy Mansion in Midtown.

Harrisburg is poised for more apartment conversions, as the city’s Zoning Hearing Board tonight gave the go-ahead to two projects.

The board voted unanimously to permit as many as 18 rental units in Tracy Mansion, which would complete the restoration of the historic Midtown building.

Owner Jack Kay of York-based Susquehanna Real Estate plans between 14 and 18 one-and two-bedroom units in the eastern portion of the century-old building at N. Front and Muench streets, space that has long sat empty.

“All of the existing architectural features will be restored and, if anything, enhanced,” Kay told board members.

Industrialist David Tracy built the 30-room mansion as a private residence in 1918. In 1951, it became an osteopathic hospital and eventually a mental health facility.

Kay bought the building in 2005 with plans to convert it to an office condominium, adding a new, seven-story building in the parking lot next door. He received zoning board approval two years later, but the project died after the recession hit in 2008.

In 2012, Kay sold the western part of the building to Char Magaro, who opened the restaurant, Char’s Tracy Mansion, there.

Kay said that he believes there now is a market in Harrisburg for upscale apartments, which motivated him to seek a special exception for that use. He said that his apartments will be “nice units” with such features as high-end finishes, river views and in-unit washers and dryers.

He said that he hopes to undertake the project next year, but that the timing depends upon securing financing, among other factors. He said that he had not yet determined rental rates, but that they would be competitive with recent projects by Harristown Enterprises and WCI Partners.

Tonight, the zoning board also unanimously granted a variance to Harristown for the conversion of a downtown office building to residential space.

Harristown plans to develop 12 one- and two-bedroom apartments from a worn-out, long-empty office building at the corner of N. 2nd and Cranberry streets. It currently has the building under contract with the seller, Camp Hill-based CJ2 Group.

With Planning Commission and zoning board approvals, Harristown now must have its land use plan approved by Harrisburg City Council before it can begin the project.

Lastly, the zoning board tonight gave Downtown Daily Bread permission to open an emergency shelter over the winter. Starting Dec. 1, the facility on South Street, which operates as a soup kitchen and drop-in shelter, will take in as many as 30 men a night. The shelter will operate through March 31, opening at 7:30 p.m. and closing at 6 a.m.

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