Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

September News Digest

HMAC Files Chapter 11

A month after a sexual assault allegation engulfed the House of Music, Arts & Culture (HMAC) in a social media maelstrom, its owners filed for bankruptcy and plan to sell their business.

HMAC (formerly the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center) will continue its normal operations as its owners restructure debt obligations to more than three dozen creditors, said John Traynor, who owns HMAC with his husband, Gary Bartlett, and two other partners.

Their company, Bartlett, Traynor & London LLC, last month filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. They believe that they have a buyer for the business, according to the filing documents. HMAC listed more than $5 million in total assets, chief among them the sprawling, historic building at 1110 N. 3rd St.

Traynor hopes to transition to new management and ownership by 2019.

“This allows us to reorganize, take a breath, and work with creditors,” Traynor said. “I think HMAC could use a fresh start, and Chapter 11 will help facilitate that.”

Traynor and his partners have developed HMAC for a decade and, in 2009, opened the first phase, Stage on Herr, a bar and concert venue. In all, they’ve since spent millions of dollars renovating the 34,000-square-foot property, which served as the city’s Jewish Community Center starting in 1924 and later housed Harrisburg’s Police Athletic League.

Today, HMAC is comprised of three separate performance venues, as well as a full-service bar and kitchen. It hosts shows by local and national performance artists, corporate events, weddings and community gatherings.


Renovated Playgrounds Reopen

Summer break may be over, but playtime is just beginning in Harrisburg.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse last month cut the ribbon on the newly renovated Cloverly Heights Playground, one of four play areas that were recently revamped with new equipment and green infrastructure.

After being closed all summer, playgrounds at Cloverly Heights, Norwood and Holly streets, Penn and Sayford streets and Royal Terrace are opening to the public.

The four sites have been outfitted with all-new play amenities, and each one has unique features, Papenfuse said.

Three of the sites also have storm water management enhancements thanks to Capital Region Water.

“Our parks are the city’s greatest assets,” Papenfuse said. “I’m glad we’re bringing all of our playgrounds up to the level that our community would like to see.”

The city will complete renovations at a fifth playground, at 4th and Dauphin streets, next year.

The citywide playground renovations were part of a $2 million partnership among Harrisburg, Capital Region Water, Impact Harrisburg, the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

The ribbon cutting represented the culmination of a project three years in the making. The five playground sites were first targeted for renovations in 2015, but renovations stalled while the city pursued funding and collected public input.


Another Purchase for Harristown

A downtown Harrisburg building project has changed significantly, as a developer now has plans to purchase and renovate the building next door.

Harristown Enterprises expects to close this fall on the purchase of 17 S. Market Sq., currently the home of the SkarlatosZonarich law firm, said Harristown CEO Brad Jones. A full renovation of the century-old, 33,809-square-foot building will follow.

“We’re still evaluating the uses of that building,” Jones said. “We think it’s going to become a mixed-used project.”

Last year, Harristown bought the neighboring building, a small, dilapidated, early 19th-century office and retail building at 21 S. 2nd St., which notably once housed the Coronet restaurant.

It razed that building, with expectations to construct a new office building and attach it internally to the SkarlatosZonarich property. However, according to Jones, the plan changed after continuing discussions with the law firm.

“As we began to talk more, they indicated they were more interested in selling the building,” Jones said.

As a result, SkarlatosZonarich now will sell their Market Square building to Harristown and relocate to the Bowman Tower in Strawberry Square, which is also owned by Harristown.

In January, the firm’s 35 employees will move into about 11,000 square feet of office space, about double their current footprint, following a $1 million renovation, Jones said. After the relocation, Strawberry Square will have an office vacancy rate of only about 5 percent, he said.

Jones said that plans are still in flux for the redevelopment project at Market Square, but he expects a mixed use of residential, office and retail, with residential more likely for 17 S. Market Sq. and office more likely for 21 S. 2nd St.


Parker Departs City

A senior Harrisburg official left her post last month to work in the private sector.

Jackie Parker, who has headed the city’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) since 2014, left her position to take a job with a medical marijuana company, she told TheBurg.

Parker joined the city administration when Mayor Eric Papenfuse took office in 2014. She previously served as the mayor of Lebanon, Pa., and as deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

As the city’s DCED director, Parker was the point person for economic development projects, Papenfuse said. She managed employees in the bureaus of housing, planning, business development and parks and recreation.

Papenfuse said today that he does not plan to replace Parker. The mayor announced a city hall hiring freeze in June, but he also hopes to reorganize DCED in the wake of Parker’s departure.

He expects to prepare a reorganization plan ahead of his 2019 budget presentation in November.

“She’s been a wonderful, committed leader for the city,” Papenfuse said. “I think she’s irreplaceable.”


Trash Billing Proposal Revived

Unpaid trash fees are costing Harrisburg an average of $200,000 a month—a problem that city Treasurer Dan Miller thinks can be fixed by billing residents once a year for disposal services.

Miller proposed an annual trash billing structure earlier this year as part of an overhaul of Harrisburg’s sanitation laws. But City Council nixed the measure, saying it would stress the cash flow of low-income and fixed-income residents.

The city currently bills residents $32 a month for trash collection. It also has a monopoly on commercial accounts in the city.

Miller appeared before council last month to renew the case for annual billing. He’s proposing that Harrisburg include a line item for trash fees on every property’s annual real estate tax bill, which is mailed out in January. The trash collection fee would be subject to the same 2 percent, 60-day discount period as the real estate tax.

The city currently has a 98-percent collection rate on its real estate taxes. Miller hopes that trash fee collections would increase by streamlining the two bills into one. It would also save an estimated $100,000 a year in mailing costs.

Collecting up-front payments is key, Miller said, since the treasurer’s office doesn’t have many means to pursue delinquent accounts.

According to Miller, Harrisburg lost enforcement authority over delinquent trash bills when it restructured under the Harrisburg Strong Plan, the financial recovery plan it adopted in 2013.

Before the Strong Plan, Harrisburg had an in-house collections arm in its Operations Revenue Department (ORD). When the department could not collect bills from delinquent accounts, it could turn off the water at those properties to spur a payment.

But the Strong Plan dissolved the ORD and transferred Harrisburg’s water assets to Capital Region Water. As a result, the city lost the ability to terminate water services at delinquent properties.

“People discovered that, if they didn’t pay their bill, their trash was still collected and nothing else happened,” Miller said. “Maybe their bill went up [from interest], but nobody was doing anything about it.”


So Noted

Knead Bar Pies opened last month inside of Zeroday Brewing Co., 250 Reily St., Harrisburg. This is the second location for Knead, which also has a stand in the Broad Street Market, serving a different style of pizza. Pending approval of a liquor license transfer, Knead is planning a third location, Knead Slice Shop, at N. 3rd and Boas streets, a storefront long occupied by Mercado’s Pizzeria.

Paxton Ministries
and Monarch Development Group last month broke ground on Paxton Place, an affordable senior housing development at 1100 S. 20th St., Harrisburg. The $8.6 million development, featuring a 37-unit apartment building, should be completed in fall 2019.

Penn State Health last month appointed Deborah A. Berini as president of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Berini most recently served as chief operating officer at the University of Texas Medical Branch Health System. She replaces Alan Brechbill, who has assumed the role of executive vice president for hospital operations for Penn State Health.

Salvation Army of Harrisburg last month broke ground on it new regional headquarters located at S. 29th Street and Rudy Road. When complete, the 39,000-square-foot facility will house the Salvation Army’s education and human services programs, which reach more than 18,000 adults and children in Dauphin, Perry and Cumberland counties.

Stash Vintage and The Midtown Dandy are teaming up to open a vintage clothing store in downtown Harrisburg, they announced last month. The two retailers will move into the storefront at 11 S. 3rd St. later this fall once improvements are made to the space, which is owned by Harristown Enterprises.


Changing Hands

Allison St., 1506: S. Maurer to J. Davison, $71,000

Boas St., 213: B. Wagner to L. & S. Godinez, $105,900

Brookwood St., 2466: Carrodo LLC to PA Deals LLC, $45,000

Conoy St., 110: M. & S. McLees to H. Peyrot, $153,000

Crescent St., 332½: Dynaspek Holdings LLC to K. Stoute, $50,000

Croyden Rd., 2981: J. Arvelo to Leonard J. Dobson Family Limited Partnership, $30,401

Cumberland St., 113: J. Townsend to J. Calla, $173,000

Derry St., 1603½: S. Vielle to R. Garcia, $37,000

Emerald St., 219: D Jay Investments LLC to M. Goldthwait, $31,600

Fulton St., 1713: A. Beck to M. Fagan, $125,000

Graham St., 310: N. Lindemyer to V. Arrington, $99,000

Green St., 1704: B. & C. Hansen to Z. Houseal, $209,900

Green St., 1914: L. Copus to K. Bogard, $194,900

Green St., 2316: Skye Holdings LLC to U&N Properties, $35,000

Holly St., 1844: V. Rivas to F. Eras, $40,000

Hunter St., 1610: M. Toro to P. Anandan, $44,000

Kensington St., 2044: PTSH Properties LLC to K. Cardona, $33,500

Kensington St., 2225: D. & S. Fenton and Harrisburg Property Management Group to F. Sisic, $54,000

Lewis St., 210: B. & C. Zandieh to T. Keller, $67,000

Logan St., 2329: I. Mirambeaux to D. Reyes-Martinez, $35,000

Maclay St., 332: JTA Consulting Group LLC to D. Jolley, $70,000

Market St., 2018: US Bank NA Trustee & Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC to C. Ovalles, $40,767

North St., 214: A. Lawson to J. Hunt & K. Lambert, $129,000

Norwood St., 920: J. & R. Lowery to J. Arocho, $91,180

N. 2nd St., 901 & 903: W. & J. Hobbie to WG PA Holdings LLC & B. Golper, $365,000

N. 2nd St., 909: C. Simmons to C. Adam, $165,000

N. 2nd St., 1223: B. Jones to A. Holt & S. Hayes, $153,000

N. 2nd St., 2425: S. & M. Hwang to A. Waltz, $168,000

N. 2nd St., 3008: H. & K. Bey to S. & R. Bogash, $234,900

N. 2nd St., 3209: Benchmarq Holdings LLC to H. & L. Robinson, $109,900

N. 3rd St., 1628: C. Frater to Heinly Homes LLC, $100,000

N. 3rd St., 1640: V. Jenkins to Heinly Homes LLC, $76,500

N. 3rd St., 1806: HBG Rents LLC to C. Shokes, $242,000

N. 3rd St., 3020: D. Porter to PA Deals LLC, $32,000

N. 4th St., 2410: PA Deals LLC to K. Moulds, $70,000

N. 5th St., 2251: K. Rolston to B. Kerstetter, $210,000

N. 5th St., 3118: Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. to Willowscott Investments LLC, $34,000

N. 5th St., 3132: K. Hall to Willowscott Investments LLC, $62,000

N. 6th St., 2947: Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. Trustee to D. Wenger, $61,425

N. 6th St., 2987: C. De la Riva to E. & P. Grier, $125,000

N. 6th St., 3151: A. Banks to E. Crawford, $69,900

N. 14th St., 1116: Just Sold Another One LLC to Gator Management Group LLC, $31,000

N. 16th St., 1326, 1328: W. Washington to F. Johnson, $95,000

N. Front St., 1525, Unit 212: D. Taylor to R. Viti & T. Luckenbaugh, $149,550

N. Front St., 1525, Unit 510: M. & L. Paszak to H. Evren & M. Saygin, $99,900

N. Front St., 2833: N. & P. West to A. & G. Shahbaz, $289,000

N. Front St., 3207: Remus Real Estate to 3207 N. Front St LLC, $390,000

Parkway Blvd., 2513: A. Maiga to A. Buglione, $30,000

Penn St., 1508: M. Parmer to C. Bury, $137,900

Penn St., 1608: R. Viti & T. Luckenbaugh to D. Hooker & B. Lister, $165,000

Penn St., 2117: JLP Holdings LLC to Wells Fargo Bank NA, $34,518

Penn St., 2233: J. Thomas to T. & R. Kenney, $109,900

Radnor St., 249: Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. to M. Chappelle, $115,620

Rudy Rd., 2339: Good Deal Properties LLC to W. MacMichael, $39,500

Rumson Dr., 2786: J. & K. Cabezas to PA Deals LLC, $40,000

S. 13th St., 435: SWM Properties LLC to F. & P. Harden, $70,000

S. 13th St., 1496: A. Roberts to DPM Development LLC, $41,500

S. 14th St., 1402: D. & E. Stanton to City of Harrisburg, $41,000

S. 14th St., 1431: R. Epps to City of Harrisburg, $57,000

S. 14th St., 1434: W. Collins to City of Harrisburg, $45,000

S. 14th St., 1456: G. Bullock & L. Gratkowski to City Harrisburg, $56,000

S. 16th St., 17: D. Springer to W. Cherelus, $33,000

S. 18th St., 1319: K. Shemory to J. Nguyen & T. Pham, $100,000

S. 27th St., 634: S. Moore to D. Mateo, $50,000

S. 27th St., 731: S. & M. Pandolfi to P. Menanga & J. Bidjeke, $135,000

S. Front St., 557: K. Stennett to K. Tatum, $128,000

State St., 1717: A. & R. Sharp to M. Demonda, $130,000

State St., 1823: C. & N. Bickel to M. Butler, $69,917

Susquenhanna St., 1730: Signature Rehab Services LLC to G. Harris, $111,200

Swatara St., 1905: H. Abukaffaya to A. Grove-Erazo, $37,000

Vine St., 119: W. Zutell to Wild Patch LLC, $80,000

Walnut St., 104: C. Hinson to MIV Properties LLC, $85,000

Walnut St., 1854-1860: T. Van, H. Van & T. Vo to H. Van, $85,000

Woodbine St., 236: M. Elganzoory to Lambar LLC, $34,000

Wyeth St., 1409: D. & M. Myers to H. Swanson, $117,000


Harrisburg property sales for August 2018, greater than $30,000. Source: Dauphin County. Data is assumed to be accurate.

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