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be close to the restaurants, close to the river.” To illustrate that point, Nicole Conway shared a

story from her own experience. A dozen years ago, fresh out of law school, she wanted to live downtown to be near the restaurants, bars and clubs that were popping up along 2nd Street. She decided against it after she couldn’t find the well-appointed apartment she wanted. “Tere are people who want to live in the city who

are looking for nice rental,” said Conway, executive vice president and general counsel for Vartan Group. “Until recently, you had trouble finding it.”


Of course, you can’t mention downtown Harrisburg without bringing up the issue of parking, as the cost of on-street spaces has doubled since January. Monthly garage rates also have increased, though not nearly as much. Generally speaking,

the developers said they

thought the issue had been overblown. Indeed, some people will not live downtown because of the parking situation. Others, however, find they don’t need to own a car or they reverse commute or they take advantage of Standard Parking’s special rates for downtown dwellers, they said. In some cases, units come with parking. “It’s not quite as big of a deal as people are making

of it,” said Vartan’s Conway. “You go to any other city in Pennsylvania or the United States, and you will face the same challenge. You have to pay to park. It’s just part of being in a city.” If parking were a deal-breaker, these developers

wouldn’t be buying and renovating buildings, and people wouldn’t be moving into them, the developers said. “People have to weigh the barriers versus the benefits,” said Dilks. “People who decide to live [downtown] are yearning to be closer to restaurants and work and to have greater interactions with others.”

130 Locust Street Several other trends are favoring downtown

residential development. Banks are beginning to lend again, and developers, seeing pent-up demand, are looking to renovate and build, said Dilks. Harrisburg might just follow other cities in creating

a “living downtown,” a place where people reside, not just work and party. Tat would further affirm the city’s status as a center for dining and nightlife, but it also might offer a better market for something the city clearly lacks—quality retail. “It’s a trend, and it’s a long-time trend,” Dilks said.

“Te trend to move out of the city lasted 30 years. Hopefully, this trend will last for that long of a time.”

Disclosure: TeBurg’s publisher, Alex Hartzler, is a principal at WCI Partners LP.

John Hanna Briggs Mansion

Exterior of LUX 08.14 | THE BURG | 17

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