The Regional Spotlight – York County
One of York County’s greatest assets is its location less than an hour from Baltimore and Harrisburg and mid-way from Philadelphia and Washington, DC. Many residents commute to careers in metropolitan areas while enjoying York County’s lower cost of living. Location is also providing the key to York County’s steady resurgence.
Like many areas previously reliant on manufacturing companies to provide employment, York County struggled through recent economic downturns and a decade-long shift of local manufacturing bases to other countries like Mexico and China. Now York County’s location is enabling it to develop new areas of commerce including small company growth, retail growth, and new distribution centers and warehouses.
“With connections to state route 30 and I-83, York County is a hub of transportation activity making it a prime location for distribution centers that are within 500 miles of 40 percent of the nation’s population,” says Ted Pfeifer, Landmark’s Vice President of Retail. “Continuing construction of distribution centers along I-83 is creating employment in the manufacturing and warehousing areas. This key area of growth for York County will position it well for a shifting economy that is becoming more Internet dependent.”
In addition to distribution centers, other leading employers in the county include health and hospital systems, federal and county government as well as five Walmarts, grocery stores, and a large core of manufacturers, many based on food snacks, like Utz Quality Foods, and the expanded Harley Davidson plant for manufacturing.
Just like many urban areas throughout the United States, York County lacks affordable housing. Millennials in particular are pushing demand for condominiums and apartments throughout the county.
“There’s a trend with our older residents choosing not to sell or move from their homes. That’s creating a lack of inventory and making it a challenge for the millennials to find that affordable first home,” says Pfeifer. “Some of this demand is being addressed through an increase of mixed-use properties being created through the city’s redevelopment program.”
Focused redevelopment of York’s downtown is also helping to create retail and restaurant destinations to attract businesses and activity. These include the Yorktowne Hotel project which will include shops and dining, recent construction of the People’s Stadium with introduction of a minor league baseball team, and the Codorus Corridor Project, a design plan to revitalize municipalities within walking distance of Codorus Creek.
A similar dynamic redevelopment effort in Hanover, the county’s second largest population center, has also been met with success.
Constraints to retail growth in York County have mainly been in the lack of zoned land for expanding retailing areas. Retail activity in recent years has been concentrated around the city of York in three main retail hub areas:
East -The East Market Street/ Mt Zion area
West -The Loucks Road (US Highway 30) area between I-83 and Carlisle Road
South – The South Queen/ I-83 area
“There is quite a demand to be in or near these retail hubs. They are very concentrated with the highest demand and value on properties close to the core,” says Pfeifer.
Additional submarkets include Hanover, Shrewsbury and Northern York County:
Hanover—Eisenhower Boulevard is dominant and nearly at capacity with retail properties, but there is room for retail and real estate growth in the South Hanover market near the Walmart.
“The Maryland refugees, residents who commute to Baltimore and Washington, are creating demand for housing and retail particularly in the southern portion of Hanover, as well as Shrewsbury and southern York County,” says Pfeifer.
Shrewsbury—Retail is focused at I-81 and Forest Ave (Hwy 851). Walmart, Home Depot, and Giant Food stores are the main attractors in this area.
“This community benefits from its proximity to the Maryland state line which provides easy access to the extreme north Baltimore market for work but also draws Maryland consumers seeking lower sales taxes and easier access to shopping areas,” says Pfeifer.
Northern York County–In the north portions of York County, retail has slowly been growing. Walmart has placed a store in the Etters area, off I-83, for example.
The county’s two major enclosed malls are dealing with vacancies and overall changes in retail strategy arising from changing preferences of retail consumers and the increasing impact of Internet shopping.
“We’ve even seen a successful ‘demalling’ at the Manchester mall on the west end of York in response to changing consumer demands,” says Pfeifer. “The York Galleria Mall, (located northeast of York at the intersection of U.S. Route 30 and Route 24], is struggling with major department store vacancies. However, there are opportunities to develop these spaces for other non-retail uses such as office, medical, or even housing.”
Ted Pfeifer specializes in and enjoys working with landlords providing creative solutions to help re-tenant retail buildings and assist in the re- design of centers to assure landlords can stay competitive and earn the income they need for the oncoming years. Ted is always available to talk and help in designing an effective strategy for your business needs.