York City company looking to demolish historic building

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
The building at 484 W. Philadelphia St., Wednesday, March 17, 2021, has been targeted for demolition by Royal Square Development & Construction. Bill Kalina photo

A York City company is looking to demolish a building that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Royal Square Development & Construction will first need to commission a structural engineering report of the property at 484-486 W. Philadelphia St. to determine whether the building is salvageable, according to the Historical Architectural Review Board.

The building is marked with a red "X," which signifies that the York City Fire Department will not enter the premises if there is a fire.

“We weren’t given any reports to the actual condition of the property and whether it’s salvageable," said Mark Shermeyer, a member of HARB.

Shermeyer said the historical building once housed the well-known "old Philly Café," a local destination spot for those in York and surrounding areas.

“I’ve grown up seeing that building, and I liked that building,” York City Mayor Michael Helfrich said. “But I’ve also noticed the issues with the foundation."

The property has sat vacant and blighted for decades, said Dylan Bauer, president of Royal Square Development & Construction. The company purchased the building from the city's Redevelopment Authority in 2019.

“The intent was to tear down the building, creating a safer space, creating a cleaner property and turning it into a development opportunity,” Bauer said.

The property has been noted to have foundational issues, according to HARB's March 11 meeting minutes.

"The Board recalled noting foundation issues in HARB applications in years prior but does not want to set a precedent for demolishing a stable property, especially when this one is a prominent historic property," the minutes state.

Royal Square Development & Construction plans to have a structural report completed and made available to HARB by the end of the week.

It's unclear when HARB would make a recommendation on the matter.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.