York City delays decision on Dentsply redevelopment plan

Matt Enright
York Dispatch

York City officials delayed a decision that could have led to the purchase of the 17-acre Dentsply property, which has been sitting empty since 2020, when the dental supply company laid off 200 workers.

A letter of intent outlining the city's interest in the property went before the City Council on Tuesday night. The proposal, first made earlier this year, would've called for the city to pay $4 million to obtain the property as part of plans to redevelop the area.

"There's still questions that I have in regard to the letter of intent," said Council President Sandie Walker, adding that she wanted to hear more discussion of the plan at the council's October meeting.

Walker, in an interview after the meeting, declined to specify what questions she had. All of that would be discussed in October, she said.

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Blanda Nace, who chairs the Redevelopment Authority, said delaying a decision could prove problematic, specifically in obtaining key information about utilities and other carrying costs.

That information would have accelerated the process of the city obtaining funding for the project.

"Now that this was pulled from the agenda," Nace said, "I can only hope that we will at some point pass a resolution to sign the [letter of intent] so that we can then get the information in order to pass the bill that would allow for the funding."

York City City Council President Sandie Walker during a Flag Day Celebration at Veterans Memorial Gold Star Healing and Peace Garden in York City, Tuesday, June 14, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The letter itself was updated recently. According to Nace, the updates — which included a slight reduction in the size of the land being sold — were made at the seller's request. The seller's broker could not immediately be reached for comment.

York City Mayor Michael Helfrich declined comment on the matter after the meeting and didn't speak on it during the meeting, either.

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In addition to the delay on the letter of intent, the council also introduced a motion to amend the 2022 budget to allow for the purchase of the Dentsply campus. As that motion is an ordinance, it must wait until the October meeting to be considered.

Dentsply moved its headquarters from York City to Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2019. In 2020, the dental supply company announced it was closing its Pennsylvania facility and laying off 200 employees.

— Reach Matt Enright via email at menright@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @Matthew_Enright.