At Sycamore Square, the new and old grow together - LancasterOnline: Business

At Sycamore Square, the new and old grow together

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Posted: Sunday, September 20, 2009 12:04 am | Updated: 3:04 pm, Wed Sep 11, 2013.

More than four years after it was unveiled, the ambitious Sycamore Square project in Elizabethtown is about to welcome its first tenant.

Dellinger, Dolan, McCurdy & Phillips Investment Advisors LLC expects to move there from its current home in downtown Elizabethtown early next month.

On the campus of Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, Sycamore Square is a commercial/retail enterprise that involves the restoration and reuse of four industrial-style buildings. The project, in Elizabethtown Borough, also will include about 64,000 square feet of new construction.

Sycamore Square is expected to house professional offices, retail businesses and restaurants.

The structures being converted are a power plant, built in 1912; a machine shop/garage, also from 1912; the Groezinger Memorial Laundry Building, from 1918; and a maintenance storeroom (originally the pump house), constructed in 1922. Combined, they're close to 25,000 square feet.

Masonic Village was established in 1910, so the stone buildings - along Masonic Drive and Bainbridge Street - date from the retirement community's earliest years.

DDMP Financial Advisors will occupy the old pump house. The new digs are about 2,720 square feet, including a ground floor and mezzanine.

The four partners in the firm are Todd Dellinger, Sean Dolan, Jim McCurdy and John Phillips.

Dolan said DDMP had been eyeing Sycamore Square as a possible location for a couple of years, as the project progressed.

The company has been at 222 S. Market St. in Elizabethtown since its 2006 founding. When DDMP was in its infancy, the move to Sycamore Square didn't make financial sense, Dellinger said.

But now it does, he said.

Though DDMP will no longer be downtown, it's still in Elizabethown Borough, in a growing commercial and residential area.

Sycamore Square is adjacent to Sycamore Apartments, Masonic Village's newest housing complex. And it's close to the Elizabethtown Amtrak station, which is getting a $9.4 million upgrade.

DDMP has signed a seven-year lease, and hopes to be in its new home within a couple of weeks.

After starting with virtually nothing 3½ years ago, DDMP is approaching $150 million in assets; the thriving business needed room to grow and additional space in which to meet clients, Phillips said. DDMP also is adding a part-time associate, Dr. Randolph Trostle, a professor emeritus at Elizabethtown College.

The four partners worked at Fulton Financial Advisors before deciding to branch out on their own.

"I thought there was a unique opportunity for a company that was client-focused," McCurdy said.

"We had a like-minded vision," Dolan explained.

McCurdy said DDMP does plenty of front-end financial planning and advising before making investments. "Our service is very proactive," he said.

Two partners are involved in every client relationship, Dolan said. "That provides depth of knowledge and breadth of service," he said.

DDMP's three target markets are individuals, not-for-profit entities, and company-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401(k)s.

The firm prefers to be in the E-town area because it's centrally located, McCurdy said. "Most of our client opportunities are in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Hershey, Lebanon and York," he said.

"This was a great place for us to start a business," Dolan said.

McCurdy said DDMP likes the idea of moving its offices into an older building. "The character's incredible," he said.

"What they've done inside is architecturally pretty neat," Dolan said.

The former pump house DDMP will occupy is 1½ stories, with the half-story serving as the mezzanine. The space will hold two conference rooms, multiple offices, a reception area, two restrooms, a break room, a storage area and a media center.

In some places, the ceilings are as high as 23 feet, exposing iron beams.

The windows are huge, Dellinger said, and one conference room boasts a vaulted ceiling.

Susquehanna-Wagman Associates, a partnership between Susquehanna Real Estate LP and Wagman Urban Group LP, both of York, is developing Sycamore Square. Wagman Construction Inc. is the builder.

Joseph E. Murphy, CEO of Masonic Villages, which has five campuses across the state, including the one in Elizabethtown, said Susquehanna-Wagman has a development agreement with Masonic Villages and signed a long-term lease.

Sycamore Square is a way for Masonic Village at Elizabethtown to provide an economic boost to the borough and surrounding area, Murphy said.

Kim Lentz, project coordinator for Susquehanna Real Estate, said Sycamore Square also will include four new buildings: three measuring around 20,000 square feet each, and a 4,000-square-foot one that could house a bank, for example.

"There's a lot of activity there," McCurdy said.


Paula Wolf is a staff writer for the Sunday News. She can be reached by e-mail at pwolf@lnpnews.com.

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