The York City Zoning Hearing Board on Thursday night gave the OK for local developers to go ahead with their plans to turn the long-empty Elm Terrace Apartments into a place where young professionals will live.

During the board's meeting, its members unanimously voted to grant Distinct Property Management the variances it sought in order for them to begin work on the 80-year-old building at 450 Madison Ave.

Developer Seth Predix, who co-owns the company with Jordan Ilyes, testified before the board — hearings such as this in front of the zoning board are done under oath — telling them the pair was seeking to turn what had been a 44-unit building into a 46-unit one. The two new apartments fill out unused spaces such as the old boiler room, he said

With very little discussion, the board granted Predix's requests, which included a request to allow the company to again operate the seven-story brick building as an apartment building, even though it would now be more densely occupied than updated codes allow.

Board member Franklin Williams boiled it down to a simple question: "Is this apartment building an apartment building?"

It was, decided he and the rest of the board. They also allowed Distinct to go ahead with several fewer parking spaces than required, as well as a few other variations to code.

"We either have to have someone competent take control of it or knock it down," Williams said.

Predix testified that rents will be about $700 to $850. York County economic and community development director Shilvosky Buffaloe praised Distinct and said there is demand for new, reasonably priced market-rate apartments.

After the board granted him the variances, Predix told The York Dispatch he expects work to start in July and take about a year to rehab the 48,000-square-foot building.

"It's gonna be basically a gut-job," he said.

Distinct is in the final stages of work on the Keystone Color Works building in the 100 block of West Gay Street in the city's Northwest Triangle. The company renovated an old paint factory, turning it into 29 apartments going for $600 to $1,200 a month. As of Thursday, Predix said, 25 of them had renters ready to move in next month.

— Reach Sean Cotter at or on Twitter at @SPCotterYD.

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