Dauphin County and Steelton working to find a developer to transform borough's downtown

STEELTON, PA (May 23, 2018) – As part of the Dauphin County Commissioners’ initiative to turn former industrial sites to economic opportunities, the board is joining with Steelton to find a developer to transform a six-block downtown area into a residential and commercial centerpiece.

The Dauphin County Redevelopment Authority this week advertised a Request for Submissions (RFQ) from developers interested in purchasing the former steel mill land at 102 – 230 North Front Street and working with the borough and county in creating a mix of residential and commercial uses – including a new grocery store to anchor the development.

“A crucial way to grow our local economy is through breathing new life into disused and vacant industrial and commercial sites and turning them into prized community assets once again,’’ said board Chairman Jeff Haste. “Steelton is an example of how Dauphin County is working with municipal officials to tackle blight and spur development that grows the local tax base and help our communities.”

Under the RFQ, developers have until July 27 to submit proposals, which must include a minimum bid of $350,000 for the land, now owned by the Steelton Economic Development Corporation. In addition to a new grocery store, plans must address the area’s parking needs, provide connectivity to surrounding neighborhoods and complement the borough’s existing architecture.

The new development will benefit from a tax abatement zone approved last summer by the county, Steelton and the Steelton-Highspire School District. New construction will receive a 10-year, 100 percent tax abatement, meaning developers only pay property taxes at the pre-improvement rate.

“With the envisioned mix of retail, offices, condos and apartments, the positive impact of this project will go far beyond Steelton’s downtown and provide an economic shot in the arm for the entire borough,’’ said Steelton Borough Manager Doug Brown. “We want to thank the Dauphin County Commissioners for all their support in helping turn Steelton around.’’

As part of the county’s Transformation Initiative kicked off last year, the commissioners used money from an Environmental Protection Agency grant to conduct environmental assessments on the property that are required before building takes place and will save perspective developers time and money.

“Successful economic development happens when you partner with the private sector as we are doing in Steelton,’’ said Commissioner Mike Pries. “The public sector came together to clear the land for new construction and provide tax abatement, and now we’re ready to welcome a developer to make the vision of this new neighborhood a reality.’’

Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III said as a Steelton native he is excited to see the borough pursue opportunities for growth and development.

“Steelton is on the move,’’ Hartwick said. “The new community we are looking to build will provide the critical mass needed to attract more investment to all corners of the borough.’’

The release of the RFQ comes a year after the groundbreaking of another Steelton success story – the county’s first skateboard park at 3rd Alley & Franklin Street. Since opening in September, the park has drawn skating enthusiasts from throughout the region.

The skateboard park received a $31,000 tourism grant and $90,000 in gaming grants from the local share revenue program with the Hollywood Casino at Penn National. Additionally, the borough received a 5-year, $80,000 loan from the Dauphin County Industrial Development Authority.