In its pitch to the state for acceptance into a highly competitive economic-development program, York City has revealed details of several major projects in the pipeline.
Among them are construction plans for a $40 million data center at the old York Prison site and an $18 million hotel near the York fairgrounds.
The projects are highlighted in an application the city submitted last month to the state Department of Community and Economic Development, which will select two cities for City Revitalization Improvement Zone, or CRIZ, designations.
The data center is proposed by United Fiber and Data, the company backed by Think Loud Development and members of the band Live, who want the center to house data servers for the company's 300-mile fiber-optic network between New York City and Washington, D.C.
York's data center would be the first of four the company plans to build in Pennsylvania. The project is poised to break ground next year and be operational by 2015.
The CRIZ program aims to attract business and jobs to cities by offering developers state and city tax revenue to pay off project debt. In other words, instead of paying certain state and local taxes, developers of approved projects will be allowed to use that money to repay lenders.
For example, according to the city's application, the United Fiber and Data project could use CRIZ funding toward $10 million in construction and other infrastructure costs.
Only two cities will be chosen for a CRIZ in the first round. A second round is tentatively scheduled for 2016, but that's not guaranteed.
Applications were due to the state Nov. 30.
York officials released the city's CRIZ application through a Right to Know request filed by The York Dispatch.
State Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City, said the projects listed in the city's application stand to benefit from the CRIZ. But that does not necessarily mean the projects are dependent on the CRIZ, he said.
For example, city officials have been working for years with the York Expo Center on ideas to redevelop an old industrial site near the fairgrounds, said Schreiber, who served as the city's economic development director until he was elected to the state House in May.
"A hotel was kind of consistently talked about," he said.
But, before building the 89,000-square-foot hotel mentioned in the city's application, the expo center would need to demolish a grain elevator and storage facility. Funding for that aspect of the project has been difficult to find, Schreiber said.
"CRIZ could help afford that opportunity," he said.
York City officials carved out nearly 130 non-contiguous acres proposed as the city's CRIZ, where projects would be eligible for the special financing. Within a decade, the city estimates, the CRIZ would create 10,130 construction jobs and nearly 11,000 other jobs, according to the application.
By 2024, York's CRIZ is estimated to annually generate $2.5 million in new local-tax revenue and $23.9 million in new state-tax revenue "that will be used to finance the CRIZ and retire debt service associated with the city's infrastructure and construction investment."
The city officials who crafted York's application emphasized York's proximity to Maryland as a way for Pennsylvania to attract out-of-state businesses.
Other projects revealed by the city's application include SOMA 243, described as a "dynamic, mixed-use redevelopment project" south of Central Market on West King Street.
In the Historic Newton Square neighborhood, SOMA 243 would include "retail businesses that will directly meet the needs of the community," according to the application.
The developer is Three Cord Inc., which has executed a letter of intent to relocate its administration offices to the area.
Three Cord, which is owned by New Hope Academy Charter School founder Isiah Anderson, also plans to redevelop 1 Marketway West, a building on Continental Square. The plan, according to the city's application, is for a $9 million revitalization to include residential apartments, commercial office space and underground parking.
The new owner of the former York City Post Office building on South George Street has plans for a hotel and high-end restaurant on the site, a project that would cost about $8 million, according to the application. York businessman Themi Sacarellos, best known as the owner of Round the Clock Diner, bought the post office in August.
And, finally, the application highlights plans for a movie theater and children's museum at what's come to be known as the Northwest Triangle.
The museum is proposed to occupy the former Keystone Colorworks building, a former paint factory.