A York city authority has purchased the former Dentsply Sirona campus and plans to turn it over to a developer expected to bring new life to the 17.3 acre site between West College Avenue and the Codorus Creek
- The $4.25 million sale, which closed in late December, is the culmination of more than a year of talks between the Redevelopment Authority of the City of York and Dentsply Sirona, a dental products manufacturer.
- After the authority does some environmental prep work, it plans to resell the 28-parcel campus in a series of transactions to York Realty Partners LLC, a partnership between Baltimore-based CAM Construction and Rhode Island-based Knight Street Capital.
- The two companies are behind the $38 million redevelopment of the former Stehli Silk Mill in Lancaster.
- “The Lancaster market has definitely had a lot of great growth,” said Angelo Munafo, vice president of real estate development for CAM. “And I think York similarly has a lot of potential and is headed in the right direction.”
Why is this happening: Dentsply Sirona has operated in York since the early 1900s but its campus along West College Avenue has been largely vacant for the last several years,
- The North Carolina-based company now has an office in the Susquehanna Commerce Center in downtown York and a plant at 1301 Smile Way.
- The redevelopment authority wanted to take control of the campus, which features nine buildings, to keep it from succumbing to blight and to have a say in its future.
- Funding for the authority’s purchase came in the form of an advance from CAM and Knight Street, said Blanda Nace, executive director of the authority.
- “This is one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ projects that will change the landscape of this quadrant of our city,” Nace said.
How: Plans are still being drawn up, but York Realty plans to bring market-rate apartments to a significant portion of the campus and convert up to 40,000 square feet of space for commercial and flex use, Munafo said.
- The new apartments could appeal to people working at nearby WellSpan York Hospital, as well as staff and students at York College, Munafo said.
- “We definitely think there’s an opportunity to improve the quality of the housing stock for the student body,” he said.
- Some space may be used by local nonprofits and social services, Munafo added.
- He also envisions connecting the site to the Codorus Greenway, a long-range project to increase public access to the Codorus Creek in York city.
- The actual number of apartments is yet to be determined, he said. But, he noted, the Dentsply campus contains more than 300,000 square feet in all.
- In comparison, the Stehli Silk Mill is about 250,000 square feet. It will feature 165 apartments and 20,000 square feet of commercial space.
When is this happening: York Realty hopes to start the first phases of construction by this fall, Munafo said.
- The apartments would be available in phases, starting about a year after construction begins, he said. “We just see that there’s a continued need for housing in York County and York city.”
- York Realty plans to cede about a dozen small parcels to the redevelopment authority, which expects to convert them to housing or small parks, Nace said.
- To support the project, the authority and the developers plan to apply for funding from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, Nace added.
The developers: Knight Street and CAM have prior experience redeveloping old industrial properties.
- In addition to the Stehli Silk Mill, the two companies have collaborated on renovation projects in Rhode Island and Baltimore.