Condos offer historic charm, modern amenities and the city at your doorstep
Last year, Suzette Harrel was a recent empty-nester on the eastern tip of Long Island, looking for a new home that was low maintenance and convenient.
On a whim while visiting a friend in Lancaster, Harrel stopped by an open house at the Lancaster Press Building, the recently renovated cigar factory and print company that is now home to industrial chic upscale condominiums.
She signed a contract three weeks later and moved into her new home in October. Over the past few months, as she’s begun to assemble the pieces of her new decor and her new life, Harrel has discovered that the Lancaster Press Building offers everything she had hoped for — and more.
“I wanted a beautiful place to live,” she says. “I think I hadn’t realized how important the community part would be to me.”
With the building at Prince and Lemon streets now about half occupied, residents from near and far have embraced the condos’ mix of historic charm and modern amenities, the vibrant downtown lifestyle and the developing sense of community.
Peggy Harbison downsized six years ago and was already sold on the convenience and comfort of condo living in New Jersey when she planned her move to Lancaster last year.
“The reclaimed Press Building attracted me because it combined the charming qualities of an urban historic building with the attractiveness of brand-new, loft-like condos having open spaces,” Harbison says.
No two condos in this unique community are exactly alike, but all of them perfectly marry the building’s industrial history with high-end amenities. So you’ll find standard features such as hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances alongside exposed brick walls, ceiling ductwork and concrete columns.
For many of the Press Building’s new residents, that charming juxtaposition of old and new holds great appeal — in particular when it comes to the large windows that not only flood each unit with natural light but also offer spectacular views of the city.
“Our view is our art!” say Mark and Beth Rothermel, who moved to downtown Lancaster from Harrisburg and count the beautiful windows and ultra-high ceilings of their condo among their favorite features. “Where else can you look out your window in the summer and see hot air balloons floating by? Or watch fireworks from your balcony or rooftop? We actually spend more time on our balcony than we did on our deck in the suburbs!
“We also love the custom touches we designed when working with the wonderful vendors lined up by Lancaster Press Partners,” the Rothermels say.
Among its other amenities, the Lancaster Press Building includes a fitness center and a rooftop terrace featuring a gas grill, a fire pit and a variety of seating areas. A ground-floor restaurant that will deliver food to the units is set to open in late winter or early spring.
Residents have secure entry from the lobby and dedicated, secure parking only for Lancaster Press owners on the first level of the North Queen Street Garage, with access from Market Street.
Press Building residents also enjoy being part of a vibrant community.
“I love my neighbors,” Harrel says. “We are starting to build real community here, organically.”
That sense of community extends beyond the walls to a downtown that puts an eclectic mix of restaurants and shops, galleries and entertainment venues right at their doorstep. The Lancaster Press Building is also within a few blocks of the Fulton Theatre, Central Market and Clipper Magazine Stadium.
“Practically everything I want to do is within walking distance or a short drive,” Harrel says.
For Craig and Susie Johnson, who moved here a year ago from the Washington, D.C. area to be closer to their daughter and her family, the proximity to parks where they can walk their dog, Riley, is also a plus.
“Even our dentist, some of our doctors and the hospital are close by,” they add.
And thanks to the low maintenance associated with condo living, they have more time to enjoy it all.
“We wanted to have a place that requires minimal maintenance, where we could lock up and go without worrying about security or yard work,” say the Johnsons, who also have a home in Vermont.
The Rothermels say condo living gave them the more active lifestyle they desired. They now find it easier to travel, especially to visit their daughter on the West Coast.
“Once our children were out of the house we realized how much of our time was spent caring for a large yard as well as the time spent on house maintenance for space we rarely used,” they say.
Or as Harrel puts it: “I’m spending less time on maintaining a home and more on living.”
Units at the Lancaster Press Building start in the low $200,000s and range in size from 920 square feet for one bedroom to 1,900 square feet for two bedrooms plus a study. Some penthouse units on the sixth floor also include the building’s original skylights.
Both fully customizable and move-in-ready units are available.
The sales model is open from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and from 4 to 7 p.m. every Friday, including First Fridays.
For more information, visit lancasterpressbuilding.com. To schedule a showing, call listing agents Richard Boas Jr. and Gretchen Karr of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty at 717-295-4663 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.