Hankin Group rendering YMCA site w tavern and carriage house

Hankin Group intends to save a historic tavern and carriage house on the West Frederick Street side of the former YMCA site and develop apartments around them, as shown in this rendering.

The developer looking to build a mixed-use development with 240 apartments on the site of the former Lancaster YMCA has cleared one more hurdle before getting final clearance from Lancaster city to begin construction.

The city’s Historical Commission granted its positive recommendation Monday night on Exton-based developer Hankin Group’s seventh trip before the board.

The plan incorporates a 156-year-old building on West Frederick Street the developer initially wanted to raze. It was the home of Bob’s Café until 2003.

City Council will vote on its fulfillment of historic preservation concerns at a Jan. 11 meeting. The last major approval the Hankin Group will need from city officials will come from the Planning Commission, when it reviews the project’s final land development plan.

That will likely happen in the spring, said Douglas Smith, the city’s chief planner.

If all goes according to plan, Neal Fisher, vice president of development at Hankin Group, said he expects construction to begin in the summer.

The development includes a five-story apartment building, ground-floor retail, a four-story apartment building, a three-story medical building to be rented by Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health and a multi-level parking garage – all on a 3.5-acre site.

The plan calls for a 5,000 square-foot restaurant space and a 3,800 square-foot retail space on the ground floors of the apartment buildings. Another smaller retail space would be in the former Bob’s Café location.

The 240 one- and two-bedroom apartments are all to be leased at market rate – between $1,000 and $2,000 – Fisher told the Planning Commission in November.

On Monday night, Fisher said Hankin Group wasn’t ready to make public an estimated cost of the development.

A new version of the project that won over the city Historical Commission in recent weeks incorporated a circa-1865 building on Frederick Street that the developer group said in 2020 it needed to raze in order to fit more apartments.

The former tavern at 48 W. Frederick St. was last occupied by Bob’s Café in 2003. It will now remain intact, along with a 1917 carriage house behind it, and be used for retail space under the new plan the Historical Commission recommended Monday night.

Two brick rowhouses at 534 and 536 N. Queen St., across from a Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital parking garage, will be razed, under the plan, along with a one-story commercial building at 530 N. Queen St.

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