A downtown Lancaster office building once envisioned for a boutique hotel has been bought by two local investors who say they have not yet finalized their own plans for the property.
The circa-1860 building at 116-122 N. Prince St. was purchased in December for $995,000 by Don Herman and Kirk Sears, both executives at Mountville forklift maker Lift Inc.
The purchase, which is unrelated to Lift, continues some real estate investments Herman and Sears have together, Herman said.
“We had looked at several buildings downtown, and we’re big proponents of the downtown area,” Herman said. “We’ve always wanted to have a place down there.”
Herman said it could be six months or a year until they figure out exactly what they will do with the building, which has one tenant.
“I’m not sure we have a clear understanding what we want to do yet,” Herman said.
Hotel plan history
The three-story former home of Teachers Protective Mutual Life was bought in March 2015 for $875,000 by Kyle Sollenberger and Crystal Weaver, who then announced their intention to expand it for The Surveyor Hotel, a 60-room hotel with a restaurant.
As they assembled plans for their new hotel, Sollenberger and Weaver, who also own Prince Street Cafe and Passenger Coffee Roasters, created a seasonal pop-up park on the adjacent 32-space parking lot. The Prince Street Park had some seating areas and hosted a variety of food and drink vendors and also hosted a Christmas village.
Ultimately, trouble with financing and investor partners getting cold feet prompted Sollenberger and Weaver to pull the plug on their hotel project. They put the property up for sale in June with an asking price of $1.25 million.
“After many attempts and much consideration, we have decided not to move forward with the Surveyor Hotel project,” Sollenberger said at the time. “Although I still firmly believe that it would have been a tremendously successful project, others were not as convinced.”
Herman did not respond to a question about whether the new owners would continue the pop-up park.
Additionally, Herman said he hadn’t yet talked to the owner of Beer Wall about whether that planned self-service beer restaurant next door at 114 N. Prince St. can use the courtyard.
Expected to open in late February, Beer Wall is replacing Pour, a restaurant that used the courtyard for seating.