One MarketWay West undergoing major revamp, adding eatery, apartments
A largely underused building in the heart of York City will once again be a bustle of activity as its massive renovation project gets underway.
The massive One MarketWay West will be home to a restaurant, a flagship bank branch, apartments, an underground parking garage and more, said the father and daughter team who owns the building that was once Bear's Department Store.
The owners and a redevelopment official say the amenities will not only attract people to the city for a bite to eat but also bring more residents to its downtown core.
"There will be people living here. There will be people coming back to the city," said Patricia Will, a partner with One West, the company that owns the building.
One West is under the umbrella of Yohn Property Management, which completed other high-profile redevelopment projects, such as turning a former silk mill into loft-style condos and Linden Lofts, another residential conversion of a former industrial and commercial complex.
What's in store: Walking through the 100,000- square-foot One MarketWay West, made up seven interconnected buildings, is at times like navigating a maze. Stairs lead to the upper floors in one section of the buildings.
The older buildings were built more than a century ago, while newer ones were constructed about 50 years ago, said David Yohn, Will's father and partner in the company.
One West is expecting to pour $9 million, including the building's $780,000 price tag to buy it from York County, into the project, Will said.
Printing Express and the former Vineyard restaurant on the first floor will become the Iron Horse York restaurant, which will be owned by Calogero Elia, proprietor of Café Fresco in Harrisburg.
Standing in Printing Express, Will pointed to the center of the business, saying that's where the bar will be, and the Vineyard will become the dining room. In part of Continental Square, seating will allow for al fresco dining.
The American bistro will focus on fresh, local food and — including the outside area — will have seating for 150, Will said.
The restaurant, expected to open in March, also will boast a rooftop deck, Yohn said.
"With this climate that we have, you can be outside nine months out of the year," he said.
Printing Express will move to another portion of the building, and other tenants, such as Subway and Downtown Inc, will remain.
Additional space will be devoted to retail and office space, which will be built to suit, Will said.
Banking: PeoplesBank will take over 3,900 square feet of space on the first floor facing West Market Street.
As part of the move, the bank will consolidate its two city locations — one at the Yorktowne Hotel and another at the Susquehanna Commerce Center on West Philadelphia Street — to its new location, creating a flagship branch, said Nathan Eifert, its vice president of marketing.
The branch will offer personal and business banking and wealth management services and is slated to open in November.
"It also provides us with a lot more space," Eifert said. "It's really great to be part of that part of town."
Recently, a group of workers set about tearing out portions of the second floor.
Once used as office space, the space will become apartments.
There are slated to be 47 apartments, and the first batch of 15 is expected to be ready in October.
Rent will range from $600 a month for a studio apartment to $1,300 for a larger one, Will said.
Residents also will have access to a rooftop deck and to what some consider to be a premium in the city: parking.
Garage: The basement of the building, about 23,400 square feet, will be converted into a garage with access from West Clarke Avenue and will feature 45 to 50 parking spaces, Yohn said.
"You get these massive basements in these old buildings," he said. "What do you do with them?"
The basement was at one time a popular nightclub, and some of its remnants remain. Part of it that was a billiards area still has a cutout of a person playing pool on a wall, while another wall has two large prints.
One is of the historic National House, located just down the street at West Market and North Beaver streets, and the other is of an unknown building, presumably in the city.
"They want me to keep them," Yohn said of the prints.
Sonia Huntzinger, executive director of Downtown Inc, said the revitalization project will not only help bring residents and patrons to the city but also will spur on business for nearby restaurants and shops.
If someone visits Iron Horse York, they'd be more inclined to check out other establishments, she said.
"You'll get the novelty crowd but also the traditional crowd of people who live in the city," Huntzinger said.
William Penn: In order to acquire the area of the square for restaurant seating, the county had to figure out where the property line is.
Despite a section of the building's basement extending under the square, the area wasn't listed on deeds, Yohn said.
So York County, which owned One MarketWay West at the time, sued William Penn, original, pre- Colonial landowner and founder of Pennsylvania, and his heirs in the county Court of Common Pleas earlier this year to legally become the owners.
"We sued William Penn. He didn't appear in court," Yohn said, adding the judge ruled in the county's favor.
— Reach Greg Gross at email@example.com.