Downtown Harrisburg getting a housing boom

Flats at Strawberry Square

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – While Midtown Harrisburg has received some well-deserved praise for revitalization, Downtown Harrisburg is getting a boost in new abodes.

Above El Sol on South Third Street is a new dawn.

“These are the apartments at the ‘F@TT,” Denise Treaster pointed out.

Beyond the dust and sounds of saws was a fully furnished model apartment.

“Here are some beautiful granite counter tops,” she said.

Fifteen dated offices inside 22 South Third are getting an overhaul from Harristown Enterprises. The project is fittingly dubbed, “F@TT Fifteen at Twenty-Two”. The space dates back to 1875 and the plans call for highlighting that history.

“You can see a lot of our exposed concrete and exposed news have been saved,” Treaster said.

Brad Jones, Harristown’s President and CEO, said the spaces offer a mixture of historic industrial features with upscale finishes to attract more people to Downtown.

“They lend themselves to have a lot of natural light,” he said. “We just thought they were fantastic opportunities for conversions.”

Jones is behind two more similar transformations.

The Flats at Strawberry Square is set to open late next week. Jones said 22 spaces offer one or two bedrooms with lofts. The style is similar with highlighting historical aspects such as exposed steel beams and 15-foot ceilings.

South of Market, or “SoMa”, is currently under renovations. Harristown will convert 14 offices into apartments in five buildings across from F@ATT.

“Downtown Harrisburg has always been great for office,” he said, “but we think it’s a great place to live, too.”

Harristown is the latest wave of a housing boom hitting Downtown. The Vartan Group said its newly renovated Briggs House at 17 North Front is filled with occupants. Tenants living in the apartment building are treated to views of the Susquehanna River.

WCI recently cracked open Walnut Court at 210 Walnut Street. Spaces there offer exposed brick and duct work for an urban industrial feel, as do their apartments on Locust Street one block away.

Photo: WCI.com "Walnut Court"
Photo: WCI.com “Walnut Court”

Some credit Brickbox Enterprises Ltd. with starting the office space overhaul by opening the Lux across from the state Capitol about two years ago.

“We’ve seen a demand for urban living all across the country,” Jones said. “That demand is coming to Harrisburg.”

This spring, ABC27 reported on the tech industry boom with several startups in Harrisburg. Many of the young professionals chose to stay within walking distance of work.

Todd Vander Woude said he has noticed a difference in foot traffic in recent years following Harrisburg’s brink of collapse. In his conversations with developers and listing agents, the housing market has become aggressive.

“They’re really being gobbled up very rapidly,” he said.

Vander Woude pointed to the accessibility of Downtown restaurants, nightlife, river activities, City Island, museums, and the train station.

For Jones, the strawberry city is sweetest when enjoyed freshly picked.

“Nowhere else in Central Pennsylvania can you have access to this many things and not get in your car,” he said. “It’s just a wonderful, urban walking community.”

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