Apartments in former warehouse foster friendships and more in downtown Lancaster
It was a frigid February in 2015 when Irene Martin moved from Colorado to her apartment in Lancaster’s Steeple View Lofts, but she was warmed immediately by the kindness of new friends.
“My neighbors soon came to my door bearing gifts and foodstuffs. I felt their genuine friendship and welcome,” she recalls. “The next day I was invited to one of the three community rooms to a party where I met many more friendly residents.”
Martin’s story is a common one among those who live in this charmingly repurposed 125-year-old tobacco warehouse at 118 N. Water St. that is now home to loft-style rental apartments for people age 55 and over.
Steeple View Lofts, a Landis Communities residence, features 36 one- and two-bedroom apartments on three floors.
Some residents are retired and others are still working, says Evon Bergey, vice president of community initiatives for Landis Communities.
“They live very active and vibrant lives, being in touch with their own friends and families,” Bergey says, “and yet they have gotten to know each other and they have really developed a community.”
That sense of community is something for which many residents are giving thanks at this time of year.
“We have never met a nicer group of people than those that live here in Steeple View,” say Gail and Rob Coleman. “From day one, they welcomed us with opened arms. … We always look forward to meeting our new friends in the hallway, community room, the elevator or even out in the neighborhood.”
Bergey notes it’s not unusual to see residents sitting on the deck in warm weather, gathering on the fourth floor to watch fireworks, walking with a neighbor to Central Market or attending cultural events together.
Each floor also has a common area — one with a piano and TV, another with exercise equipment and the third with a library — to facilitate socializing.
The Colemans, along with neighbors Julie Kohler and Charlie and Joan Ressel, say they particularly enjoy potluck suppers and card nights. Kohler adds that she is grateful for the diversity at Steeple View Lofts.
Also contributing to the vibrancy are the first-floor tenants of this mixed-use building: the Miesse Candies factory and the Friendship Heart Gallery, which showcases the work of artists with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
The loft-style apartments at Steeple View, many offering an impressive view of the city, range in size from 670 to more than 1,000 square feet and feature open kitchen and living areas, with high ceilings, exposed brick walls and large windows.
In addition to the staff at Steeple View Lofts, residents have access to Landis at Home, another program of Landis Communities, offering personal care services, transportation and wellness support. Residents of the community are offered a membership to the Lancaster Downtowners at no charge.
In addition to Steeple View Lofts, Landis Communities provides oversight to a number of organizations, including Landis Homes and Welsh Mountain Homes.
Zamagias LLC purchased and restored the four-story building. Also participating in the Steeple View Lofts development project were general contractor EGStoltzfus, Lefevre Funk Architects and RGS Associates.
Rent starts at about $1,100 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,400 for a two-bedroom apartment. All appliances are included, and pets are welcome.
Rent includes a parking pass for the Water Street parking garage.
Perhaps the real value is in all the intangibles.
“Steeple View Lofts is more than a place to live,” Bergey says. “The community that has developed there is vital to the lives of the residents of the building. There is a sense of caring for the other residents that is clear when folks talk about their experiences.”
“Everyone is there for one another,” Julie Kohler says.
Irene Martin discovered that after she had knee replacement surgery in August. She returned to her apartment with a walker and was touched by the kindness and helpfulness of neighbors.
“Steeple View Lofts is truly a beloved community,” she says.
While currently all the Steeple View Lofts are rented, there will be two openings in March.
To schedule a tour, call 717-413-0078 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.