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The York Business Center in Springettsbury Township, York County, was among the priciest properties to change hands this year in Central Pennsylvania. (photo submitted)

The region's top real estate deals of 2021 

The past year in Central Pennsylvania real estate was punctuated by some high-profile deals, as well as a torrid market for warehouses and other industrial properties.

Here is a look at some of last year’s biggest deals – measured by dollars but also by prominence of the properties involved:
  • $90.96 million for the York Business Center, a warehouse and office complex in Springettsbury Township, York County. A joint venture of Maryland-based ASB Real Estate Investments and Radnor-based Endurance Real Estate Group bought the 1.5 million square-foot property in October from Equity Industrial Partners, an investment firm based in Massachusetts. Tenants include commercial printing company LSC Communications, motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson and regional health system WellSpan Health.
  • $89.7 million for the Camp Hill Shopping Center at Trindle Road and South 32nd Street in Camp Hill. Real estate investment trust Cedar Realty Trust sold the 423,671 square-foot center in June to GSD CampHill Pradsavi Group, a local partnership. Tenants include a Giant grocery and a Barnes & Noble bookstore.
  • $73 million for three buildings on the former campus of manufacturer York International in Spring Garden Township, York County. In October, New York-based SK Realty Management bought the buildings – totaling more than 1.4 million square feet – from Wayne-based Patriot Equities. Tenants include defense contractor BAE Systems, which moved into the former York International headquarters.
  • $60 million for a 627,000 square-foot warehouse in East Cocalico Township, Lancaster County. SK Realty sold the building in July to Conshohocken-based Exeter Property Group. The tenant is dental products distributor Henry Schein.
  • $30 million for Burle Business Park at 1000 New Holland Ave., Lancaster. The 1.2 million square-foot complex was sold in May to New Jersey-based investor Jersey Holdings by a partnership representing family members of people who bought the building back in 1987.
  • $23.75 million for a warehouse at 601 Stony Battery Road, near Route 283 in East Hempfield Township, Lancaster County. Boston-based investment firm TA Realty bought the 252,800-square-foot property in March from another investment firm, High Street Logistics Properties in Woburn, Massachusetts.
  • $20.9 million for a pair of warehouses in the Conewago Industrial Park near Elizabethtown. In June, Boston-based Cabot Properties paid $12.2 million for a 127,121 square-foot building at 1473 Zeager Road and $8.7 million for a 71,550 square-foot building at 1405 Zeager Road. Tenants at the time included New York-based Bel-Aqua Pool Supply and Illinois-based Packaging Corp. of America. 
  • $17.25 million for Summerdale Plaza at 429 N. Enola Road in East Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County. New Jersey-based First National Realty Partners bought the roughly 141,200 square-foot retail center in December from Willner Realty & Development, based in Ardmore. Tenants include Rite Aid, AutoZone, Dollar Tree and Tractor Supply.
  • $17 million for an industrial building at 3285 Farmtrail Road in Manchester Township, York County. An arm of High Street Logistics Properties bought the nearly 200,000 square-foot property in December from a partnership headed by Stephen Perko, owner of Blockhouse, and Stephen Perko Jr., president of the commercial furniture company. Blockhouse is the building tenant.
  • $15.5 million for a former QVC distribution facility in West Hempfield Township, Lancaster County. QVC, which closed its operations at the center, sold the 765,000 square-foot complex in March to Saadia Group, a New York-based ecommerce business that is repurposing bricks-and-mortar fashion brands like New York & Company.
  • $15.3 million for South York Plaza, near Interstate 83 and South Queen Street in York Township, York County. York Plaza LP sold the 128,000 square-foot center in August to Chambersburg-based Washco South York LLC. Tenants include a Giant grocery store.
  • $12.8 million for a former Harsco property at 1001 Herr St. in Harrisburg. Maryland-based 1788 Holdings bought the 21.3 acre tract from developer John Moran, who had bought it in July for $505,000 from the Capital Region Economic Development Corp. 1788 was attracted to the site’s use as an outdoor storage facility.
  • $10.01 million as the winning bid in an online auction for the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse at 228 Walnut St. in downtown Harrisburg. The auction closed in early December and the high bidder has 60 days to close on a deal for the 11-story, 246,000 square-foot building.
  • $5.75 million for the former Radisson Hotel Harrisburg in East Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County. The West Shore landmark was sold this summer to Dauphin County-based Triple Crown Corp., which won an auction for the 250-room hotel and convention center. The hotel – rebranded as Penn Harris Hotel, Trademark Collection by Wyndham – is slated for a makeover this year.
  • $5.5 million for the former Nationwide office building in Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County. Philadelphia-area developer E. Kahn Development bought the vacant, 165,000 square-foot building in October from a company called Broadstone Net Lease, which had paid $23.4 million for the property in 2016. The value then reflected a long-term lease with Nationwide, which shifted to a remote-work model in 2020.
  • $4.8 million for the site of a future Tesla dealership in Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County. Lemoyne-based Presbyterian Development LLC bought the property at 6458 Carlisle Pike in March. The planned dealership will be the first in Central Pennsylvania for the electric-vehicle manufacturer.
  • $3.5 million for Codo 241, a 35-unit apartment building with a restaurant space at 241 N. George St. in York. A partnership headed by developer Derek Dilks bought the building in November from Codo 241 LP, a partnership based at the headquarters of Wagman in Manchester Township, York County. 
  • $1.5 million for the former Memorial Hospital in Spring Garden Township, York County. The roughly 160,000 square-foot property was sold at an auction this summer to BHI Properties, a partnership based in Juniata County.
  • TBD for the Dixon University Center, a Harrisburg complex currently owned by the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg is hoping to close soon on a purchase of the 6.42-acre property, which the nonprofit plans to make into a new headquarters and community center to be known as the Alexander Grass Campus for Jewish Life.

What’s next: More deals.
  • Rite Aid’s 205,000-square-foot headquarters in Cumberland County is likely to hit the market, for example, as the pharmacy chain moves to Philadelphia.
  • Depending on the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, a large office property could be a tough sell -- or the prominent site could attract a buyer with other uses in mind.
  • Given the low vacancy rate for warehouses, industrial properties may continue to command top dollar.
  • Apartment complexes and other multifamily properties are not included on the list above. But they also have been selling at a steady clip.


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Quick takes

WHAT SOLD: The former headquarters of TimBar Corp. at 148 Penn St. in Hanover. A partnership linked to York County-based McGrew Equipment Co. paid $1.1 million last month for the nearly 19,000 square-foot building. The building will serve as an administrative headquarters for McGrew Equipment and a sister company, Crownstone Equipment, which operates Bobcat dealerships, according to Jeff Miller, the companies' CFO. Employees started moving in during the week of Thanksgiving, he said.
  • TimBar was acquired in 2016 by Illinois-based Packaging Corp. of America.
  • TimBar's former HQ building, a former school, was extensively renovated in 2012 and was in move-in condition, according to Kevin Hodge, an adviser with York-based Rock Commercial Real Estate who marketed the property.

The background: Based in Seven Valleys, McGrew Equipment buys, sells, trades and ships used farm and construction equipment. It was founded in 1999 by Greg McGrew.
  • Crownstone was founded in 2018 and has five Bobcat dealerships in Central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. It is planning to open a sixth dealership in the Reading area this fall, Miller said. Bobcat makes equipment used in agriculture, construction and grounds maintenance, among other sectors.
  • McGrew and Crownstone employ 140 people overall, with 25 expected to work at the new administrative office in Hanover, Miller added.

WHAT'S GETTING AID: WellSpan York Hospital. State officials yesterday identified the WellSpan Health facility as one of two in the state that will benefit from temporary federal help to cope with a surge in Covid-19 patients. The other recipient is Regional Hospital of Scranton, operated by Commonwealth Health. Federal strike teams are expected to arrive at the hospitals on or around Jan. 3 and increase capacity by roughly 30 beds between them. The teams will stay in place for 30 days, according to state officials. But other details -- such as how many people are on the teams -- are not yet available.


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Compiled and written by Joel Berg

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