A century-old industrial building in downtown York City has a very modern future.

Years of behind-the-scenes plans for the property at 134 E. King St. culminated Friday with an announcement the Bond building will be transformed into a wedding venue, artist studios and co-working space.

The guy in the middle of it all is Josh Hankey, who has spent the past several years buying up properties in the block bordered by Queen, King, Princess and Duke streets - recently dubbed Royal Square.

Hankey owns Susquehanna Renovations, which has its office on the block. A few years ago, a group of his tenants at 116 E. King St. formed the Parliament, now a full-time art studio and gallery.

Since then, artists have been flocking to Royal Square and establishing new gallery and studio spaces.

Models make their way through the crowd at the end of the Spring Forward Fashion Show at the Bond building Friday night.
Models make their way through the crowd at the end of the Spring Forward Fashion Show at the Bond building Friday night. ( Randy Flaum photo - rflaum@yorkdispatch.com)

"We're literally running out of space," Hankey said. "What the Parliament really started here was kind of a culture of helping creative entrepreneurs be successful."

The plan for the Bond building "is a natural extension of what we've been working on," Hankey said.

The timeline: Hankey said he expects the $1.5 million phase-one project to be complete by next spring. They'll start booking June 2015 weddings soon, he said.

Plans for a second phase are still evolving.

But, first, Hankey and his partners need to officially buy the building. They're working through that process now with the city's Redevelopment Authority, which owns the building.

The RDA bought the property at auction in 2012 for $150,000. The money came from "an anonymous contributor," officials said at the time.

The former factory is among the collection of buildings designed by prolific York architect J.A. Dempwolf.

The history: From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, it was home to Billmeyer & Small Co., a railcar manufacturer that operated at many locations throughout York, according to city records.

Later, it was used by the Anderson Motor Co. Inc., known as "home of the Studebaker in York."

In 1962, it was bought by W.

Meredith Hoffman looks over the artwork during the first official event held at the Bond building on Friday.
Meredith Hoffman looks over the artwork during the first official event held at the Bond building on Friday. (Randy Flaum)
H.B. Corp., which operated Bond Sanitary Products Inc., a cleaning supplies vendor that closed in recent years.

Assuming everything goes as planned, about 4,500-square-feet of former industrial space will soon host weddings and other events.

The space will include an on-site kitchen, reception area, cocktail lounge and suites for brides and grooms.

For artists, the separate "maker space" will capitalize on demand for space to create industrial art, said John McElligott, a partner in the project,

And, finally, the group has contracted with Impact Hub - which calls itself "part innovation lab, part business incubator and part community center" online - to bring a second co-working space to York.

The first, CoWork155 at 155 W. Market St., opened last year.

McElligott said his research showed that co-working spaces tend to thrive when there's more than one in a community.

"Not having to explain what co-working is is really half the battle," he said.

The Bond developers have carefully planned a project they believe will be successful, McElligott said.

"We really want this to be a jumping-off point for the city of York," he said. "We wanted to make sure that we didn't bite off more than we could chew."

- Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.