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Old York County Prison deal lets authority off $1.2 million hook

Rebecca Klar
York Dispatch

A tech company's plan to transform the old York County Prison into a state-of-the-art data center has another upside for York City.

It gets the city's Redevelopment Authority out from under a million-dollar judgement in an eminent domain case.

The authority is no longer responsible for the $1.2 million owed on the former prison, thanks to a settlement giving the property to United Fiber and Data, which plans to make the abandoned building a hub in its 400-mile fiber-optic network.

The city seized the property at 319 E. Chestnut St. through eminent domain in 2014, paying the owners $65,000. The owners appealed, and in March a state appeals court ordered the city to pay them $1.25 million for the property. 

The deal: Now, United Fiber and Data will pay $1.5 million, including interest, in four payments over the course of two years for the property, according to a copy of the agreement. 

A down payment of $550,000 has already been paid by the RDA and United Fiber and Data, according to records. The RDA paid $200,000 and the company paid $350,000. 

That $200,000 payment around the end of October is the only amount the RDA will contribute to the deal, said city solicitor Don Hoyt. 

Hoyt said it is a good deal — the RDA didn't have the money to pay the plaintiffs, and United Fiber and Data came to the table. 

Data center: RDA chairman Michael Black said he looks forward to seeing the completed project, which he believes will be good for the city. 

More:Fiber-optic project transforming York City neighborhood

More:York City must pay $1.25M for old prison property, appeals court affirms

More:York's 2019 budget plan: Fewer cops, more firefighters, higher health care costs

The interior of the prison will be gutted to put in place a data center to accompany a United Fiber and Data 400-mile fiber-optic network, said UFD CEO Bill Hynes. 

Ground will break on the prison revamp in 2019, Hynes said. 

Third-party companies, including Met-Ed and the York Water Co., will be included going forward to create a new electric substation and provide more than 45 million gallons of water annually for cooling, he said. 

The 400-mile fiber-optic network runs through six southcentral Pennsylvania counties, including York. It connects New York City with the data capitol of the world, Ashburn, Virginia. 

Editor's note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect that United Fiber and Data has purchased the prison.