York Town Square

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York, Pa.’s downtown: ‘This once bustling hub is becoming bustling once again’

This shipping crate would have been delivered to York, Pa.’s, Diehl Candy Company by real horsepower. York countian Jean Fix brought this “Romance Chocolates” crate to businessman William Swartz’s attention recently after reading news reports of renovations to the 28 N. George St. building occupied by Diehl’s, Gregory’s and soon Codo 28. (See inside and outside photos of this noted York building below.) Also of interest: A historic York walking tour of the Sovereign Bank stadium area and York County’s connection to the French Quarter and The 1950s, ’60s: ‘The greatest time to grow up in York, Pa.’

Jean Fix, who knows local history well, owns a shipping crate used to deliver chocolates from East Boston to the Diehl Candy Company’s 28 N. George St. store.
Her father purchased the box from an antique dealer 40 years ago.
The chocolates are long gone, but the the crate is a treasure, pointing back to a different time in downtown York… .

The former Diehl Candy/Gregory’s building has been renovated to the tune of $4.8 million, some financed by historic tax credits. It will house 11 apartments. Storefront space is available for a coffee shop or bistro.
The boxy crate serves as a long bridge between a time when retail was king and the downtown area today – a district that is being restored to offer condos and office space and other services.
The building itself is an artifact worthy of study, as a former provider of retail space for the candy company and Gregory’s, the former noted men’s clothing store. Now named CODO 28, it will soon house apartments and perhaps a coffee shop in its storefront. It shows the change in climate in downtown York from primarily retail to service.
CODO developer William Swartz, who called the shipping crate to York Town Square’s attention, elaborated on the old and new York, Pa.
Here are excerpts from his e-mail about CODO 28:

“Residents … will enjoy shopping for lunch or dinner at Central Market just as the workers at the Diehl Candy Company may have a hundred years ago. These same workers may have also caught a show at the Strand just like the new residents of CODO will.
“4 people have already signed leases to move in. Many cite having Cherry Lane, the rail trail, the market, the Strand, restaurants and night life as the reason for choosing CODO 28. Others just like the charm of having an apartment with modern styling in a hundred year old building.
“Clarke Avenue (the alley that serves, among other things, as a pedestrian path for courthouse workers to head to market for lunch) is really transforming. It will be paved in the next few days from George St. to Pershing (the head of the rail trail). The new waterfall on the side of “the old Gregory’s building”, new lighting, balconies and other building improvements have changed the whole look of this alley. It’s pretty exciting that a new microbrew pub will be moving into the alley as well (on the back of Central Market). You may have seen the huge copper kettles in the corner of market waiting for installation.
“A group of software developers recently moved their snazzy offices into the alley (into the back of the old Rosenmiller Building). The company is called “Idea Tree” and they do programming for heating and air conditioning control systems. These four young guys could have located anywhere but they chose York and this alley because they loved the market.
“Clarke Avenue is extra cool since it is bisected by Cherry Lane. Picture a bustling market, music in Cherry Lane, people sitting in the outside seating area outside the brew pub etc. A resident of the ‘York Candy Co.’ building has everything at their doorstep.
“Soon, as you know, the Eagles Arts Building renovation will be underway and a school will be occupying a large portion of the first floor.
“It’s almost like everything is coming full circle and this once bustling hub is becoming bustling once again.”

Also of interest
Ten of Codo 28’s apartments rent for $1,295. They are all 3 stories. The front two-story apartment rents for $1595. “That’s a lot of crates of chocolate,” Bill Swartz wrote in an e-mail.