Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Pumped Up: Local firm Andculture purchases, plans to renovate, relocate to Old Waterworks.

The Old Waterworks complex on Front Street.

The King Mansion, the Moffitt Mansion, the “Mary K” mansions.

In recent years, these iconic Front Street buildings have been purchased, restored and reoccupied.

You can now add to that list a singular Harrisburg property—the historic Old Waterworks building.

Today, the owners of Harrisburg-based Andculture closed on the purchase of the sprawling, 22,000-square-foot building, one of only two structures in Harrisburg within Riverfront Park, directly fronting the Susquehanna River.

After a full building renovation, the design and engineering company plans to relocate its 55-person staff from its long-time downtown home at N. 2nd and Locust streets.

“We are very excited about this,” said David Hickethier, co-owner of Andculture. “This has been a long time in the works.”

The building has been on and off the market for several years. However, the sales process was accelerated once the prior owner, Mann Realty Associates, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in January. According to Dauphin County, Hickethier and his partners bought the property from Mann Realty for $1.25 million.

A view from inside the Old Waterworks, as the Pride of the Susquehanna riverboat churns past.

The Waterworks is one of the oldest extant buildings in Harrisburg, actually comprised of four connected structures.

The original stone portion dates to 1841, built to pump water to the city’s first reservoir, which was located near the state Capitol. The pumping station was substantially enlarged in 1901, with much of the buff-colored brick structure dating to that period. In recent decades, the building fell victim both to the Tropical Storm Agnes flood of 1972, which ended its life as a pumping station, and to a devastating fire five years later.

In the 1980s, the city restored the building, turning it mostly into office space. Mann Realty acquired the property from Harrisburg in 2002 for $350,000, according to the Dauphin County property database.

Hickethier expects Andculture, a company he co-owns with partners Josh Benton and Evan Keller, to occupy the majority of the building for its main offices and for its business accelerator, Catamaran.

The company may lease out some of the remaining space, especially to complementary businesses, and would like to reserve a portion for public use, possibly for meetings and receptions, Hickethier said.

An interior view of some of the hardware inside the Old Waterworks.

Since the major city renovation 30 years ago, the building has suffered a few floods and has not undergone a major update. So, Hickethier and his partners plan to mount a complete restoration. The work includes removing drop ceilings, restoring floors, opening up spaces and making substantial repairs.

“The building has the structure and the bones: stone, steel, brick,” he said. “So, I knew we could work with it.”

Right now, they’re shooting for a year-end completion date, with the understanding that renovations could extend into 2019.

“It’s a very unique building,” Hickethier said. “There are only two on that side of Front Street, right on the river.”

The Old Waterworks is located at 614 N. Front St., Harrisburg. For more information about Andculture, visit

Continue Reading