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Tracy Mansion renovation to finish, as developer set to start on 13 apartments

Tracy Mansion in Harrisburg

It’s been a long time coming, but a developer is set to complete renovations to the century-old Tracy Mansion.

On Monday, developer Jack Kay received approval from the Harrisburg Architectural Review Board for several changes to the exterior of the property at 1829 N. Front St., including a new ADA-compliant ramp, outside steps, a landing and a covered canopy at the southern elevation of the building.

This will allow Kay’s company, York-based Susquehanna Real Estate, to begin converting the unused portions of the property to 13 market-rate apartments.

“We’re just waiting for the building permits to be issued, and we’ll begin,” Kay said today.

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 property 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 part of the building to Char Magaro, who opened the restaurant, Char’s Tracy Mansion, there. The restaurant, owned separately, is not part of the apartment project.

Kay expects construction to take up much of this year, with an anticipated opening in the fall.

The eastern portion of the property, including the carriage house, which is part of the apartment renovation.

Five two-bedroom and eight one-bedroom units are planned for about 12,000 square feet of space in the building. They will range in size from 750 to 1,200 square feet, and rents are expected to be about $900 to $1,500 a month. Some units will sprawl over two levels, and all will have a view of the Susquehanna River, Kay said.

“We are trying to create interesting spaces in the interior with all the modern conveniences,” he said.

Kay said that he undertook the project, estimated at about $2 million, due to the revival of both the city and the neighborhood.

“Over a period of time, we came to realize the interest in living in town, especially in a nice location, and that encouraged us,” he said. “With Midtown improving, we felt it was the right time to do this.”

Kay expects to set up a website with more information on the project. In the meantime, he can be reached at

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