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Developers vie for right to build at Northwest Triangle

Written by Gary Haber, York Daily Record | Feb 16, 2017 3:00 PM

York's Redevelopment Authority heard from two sets of developers that want to build on land the RDA owns.

(York) -- Apartments, an 11-story glass office tower, a robotics and computer coding school, and a facility for advanced manufacturing all could be coming to York's Northwest Triangle under action taken by the city's Redevelopment Authority on Wednesday.

The RDA board voted to direct its staff to negotiate with The Time Group, a Baltimore real estate developer, to try to hash out a deal to sell it three of the four parcels the RDA owns at the Northwest Triangle.

The board on Wednesday also voted to sell to an option on the remaining parcel at Northwest Triangle, along the Codorus Creek by the Rail Trail, to a second development team that includes York robotics and computer coding school founder John McElligott, Wagman Co. Chairman Joe Wagman, Mechanicsburg developer Hugh Simpson and Campbell Associates, a Springettsbury Township real estate development and construction firm.

The team now has 120 days to evaluate the site to decide whether to go ahead and try to buy it from the RDA.

The RDA owns a total of four acres of land in the Northwest Triangle near PeoplesBank Park and York Academy Charter School.

McElligott, a former senior vice president and chief communications officer with Royal Square Construction and Development, and the others are proposing a mixed-use innovation campus with apartments, a building for high-tech manufacturing, a second location of McElligott's Fortress Academy robotics and computer programming school, and office space to house companies that would want to locate near the school, McElligott said in a presentation Wednesday to the RDA board.

The project could generate 350 to 500 jobs in the next three years, McElligott said.

Wagman and Simpson would develop as many as two apartment buildings as part of the mixed-used project, McElligott said.

The audience included several supporters of the project including MANTEC CEO and President John Lloyd and Tom Palisin, executive director of the Manufacturers' Association.

McElligott, since leaving Royal Square Development in 2015, has worked on launching a school called The Fortress Academy to teach people to write computer code and program robots.

He has leased the former Western National Bank building at Newberry and West Market streets in York from the YMCA of York County for the first location for his school. He expects to start renovating the building this month, a process that will take four months, McElligott said. The academy will welcome its first students in the fall, he said.

McElligott plans to open a second location of The Fortress at Northwest Triangle.

The Time Group wants to build several buildings on the remainder of the Northwest Triangle, including a building with 130 apartments at market-rate rents and stores on the ground floor, Dominic Wiker, Time Group's development director, told the RDA.

Time Group could construct additional buildings that could be commercial, residential or retail. Their use hasn't been determined yet, Wiker said.

Time Group had an option from the RDA that gave it the right to evaluate whether it wanted to buy the entire four acres at the Northwest Triangle from the RDA.

Even after the option ran out in December, Time Group still wanted the opportunity to build in the Northwest Triangle, Wiker said.

If Time Group can strike a deal with the RDA, it could break ground on the first building by early 2018 and have it ready by 2019, he said.

This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between the York Daily Record and WITF. 

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John McElligott is seeking to build an innovation complex at the Northwest Triangle in York that would include a robotics school and offices. McElligott has teamed up with developers Hugh Simpson and Joe Wagman who want to build two apartment buildings at the Northwest Triangle. (Photo: Submitted)

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