Developer to convert former York City piano factory to apartments

Jason Addy

Almost a century after the peak of the piano manufacturing industry, the Weaver Piano & Organ Co. building on North Broad Street will get a new lease on life.

Real estate developer Matt Steinkamp and Lara Bushey, his wife and business partner, plan to convert the former factory into a modern apartment building with 42 market-rate units, Steinkamp said.

Matt Steinkamp and his wife Lara Bushey stand atop the former Weaver Piano Co. building Friday, May 5, 2017. They plan to develop it into an apartment building with 42 units. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The building will include one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, with floor space ranging from 750 square feet to 1,200 square feet, he said.

The four-story building at 127 N. Broad St. also will  be equipped with a new elevator and a fitness center for residents.

Steinkamp said he and Bushey expect to start construction in late summer or fall, with an eye toward finishing about late next spring or early summer.

Former glories: Around 1880, an organ-production facility was opened on the property, and it eventually grew to a third of the size of the building that stands there today, Steinkamp said.

There were multiple renovations and additions  to the building between 1880 and the peak of the piano industry in the 1920s, when the Weaver Piano & Organ Co. produced 45 to 50 pianos daily, he said.

After the stock market crashed in 1929, the automobile replaced the piano as society’s preeminent status symbol and “pretty much wiped out the piano industry,” Steinkamp said.

The rear of the Weaver Piano & Organ Company building is shown above. The building at 127 N. Broad St. in York City will be converted into an apartment building with 42 units by Matt Steinkamp and Lara Bushey. Jason Addy photo.

The building became a distribution center for Mailman’s department store in the 1960s and '70s before being used as an auto repair shop and, more recently, for storage, he said.

Historic property: Steinkamp said he began pursuing purchasing the  building nearly 2½ years ago after a friend alerted him it was about to hit the market.

When he walked through the building in January 2015, Steinkamp said he knew immediately it would make for a simple conversion into apartment units because of its structure and the width of the building allowing for apartments on either side of a main hallway.

The building is located in the city’s Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) district, requiring Steinkamp and Bushey to make renovations in line with strict renovation and refurbishing guidelines.

Matt Steinkamp and his wife Lara Bushey stand inside the former Weaver Piano Co. building Friday, May 5, 2017. They plan to develop it into an apartment building with 42 units. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Steinkamp said he secured a federal historic tax credit for the property, meaning the renovations will be regulated by even stricter guidelines from the National Park Service. The 20 percent rehabilitation tax credit is available for buildings located within a registered historic district, in this case the York Historic District, that the Secretary of the Interior designates as a certified rehabilitation of a certified historic structure, according to the the National Park Service.

Once finished, the building will be known as the Weaver Point Lofts. Steinkamp said Bushey came up with the name, which they hope will help make the building a meeting point for York City’s northeast neighborhood.

Steinkamp and Bushey thought about calling the building Weaver Piano Lofts, which “would be a statement for the building,” Steinkamp said, but Bushey felt they should call it Weaver Point Lofts instead “to make a statement for the neighborhood.”

Steinkamp said he hopes the renovated building can serve as a spark for other development in the neighborhood and help people see the city in a “more positive light.”