Downtown revitalization project launches with $7M tax credit

Jason Addy

Two buildings on Market Street in York City will get substantial makeovers after developers received a multi-million dollar federal tax credit.

On Friday morning, officials at the local, state and federal levels joined leaders of the Community First Fund and York City development firm RSDC, formerly Royal Square Development and Construction, to announce a $7 million federal tax credit allocation to transform the buildings at 101 E. Market St. and 335-351 W. Market St.

The renovation, which will be known as the Landmark Properties Project, will get underway in August, with both projects expected to be completed by September 2018.

Thanks to a multi-million dollar federal tax credit, RSDC will move forward with renovations to buildings at 101 E. Market St. (pictured) and 335-351 W. Market St. Jason Addy photo.

At the East Market Street property, RSDC plans to gut the first floor to create one large retail space and renovate 10 apartments.

Twenty percent of the building’s apartments will be reserved for low- to middle-income tenants,  said Josh Hankey, president and CEO of RSDC.

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The West Market Street building houses the York Emporium, but the rest of the property is a “vacant shell,” and RSDC will look to move another retail tenant into that building, Hankey said.

The Landmark Properties Project is expected to create 50 construction jobs, while creating and maintaining another 42 full-time jobs once the renovations are complete, Hankey said.

Federal tax credit: As one of the region’s community development entities, the Community First Fund received a $7 million allocation from the federal New Market Tax Credit Program, which provides funding for the construction or renovation of commercial buildings in low-income communities.

Local, state and federal officials and property developers pose after a news conference to announce a $7 million federal tax credit allocation to spur revitalization in downtown York City. Pictured from left to right: U.S. Rep. Scott Perry; Dan Betancourt, Community First Fund president and CEO; State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans; Josh Hankey, RSDC president and CEO; Eric Menzer, Community First Fund board chair; and Shilvosky Buffaloe, acting director of the York City Department of Economic & Community Development.  Jason Addy photo.

Without the tax credit, there would be no project, Hankey said, adding that the tax credit is about two-fifths of the total allocation and will provide about $2.1 million to use for the Landmark Properties Project.

That money “bridges the gap” between the amount of capital raised through private investments and lending and the amount of money needed to complete the project, said U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, who attended Friday morning’s announcement.

“What this small infusion does is help revitalize and encourage other investors to come in,” he said.

The process for obtaining a New Market Tax Credit is “fairly difficult” and “very competitive,” Perry said, and it requires developers to have their plans completely in place to be considered.

Perry said Hankey showed him the building on East Market Street and his vision for what it could be about a year ago before asking the congressman for help in securing federal aid, Perry said.

Though there were many people involved in the process, “it takes one person to really shepherd the project,” Perry said, thanking Hankey for spending the past 18 months turning his vision into action.

Fixing up these properties will continue RSDC’s mission to revitalize downtown York City through strategically targeted renovation projects.

“Not only is it a building that’s in terrible shape and falling down, it will turn into a positive piece of the vibrant architectural fabric of our city,” Hankey said, referring to the West Market Street property.