York Town Square

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Contractor: Keeping old Futer Bros. building’s integrity not hard, but costly


A worker salvages a sign from the former Futer Bros. Jewelers building on York’s Continental Square. It will be restored and might be used inside the restored building. Workers are removing metal siding, restoring it to seven stories and demolishing its awning. Check out this website for Futer Bros. telling about its Springettsbury Township store. Background posts: York landmark Futer Bros. building in new hands and ‘I still have my memories … of the bustling downtown York business district’.

Fellow blogger June Lloyd wrote in her post Which Hartman Building Will Rise in York Square? that the site has been drawn, photographed and colorized into post cards as much as any site in York County in the past 200 years.
A lot has happened to the Hartman Building, as it was then called, after its construction in 1850.
It started on a controversial note… .

futer2Contractors remove the debris from the first floor of the former Futer Bros. Jewelers building in York, which could be converted into office space.
Builder John Hartman is believed to have one-upped former slave William C. Goodridge’s building, across the square, in height.
For decades, it was York’s highest building. It sat on a prime corner of York’s – and York County’s – prime square.
And as June writes, it has been with cupola and without. It has been six stories and seven.
And three.
In the 1960s, it was chopped down to three stories in a remodeling job, a symbol of the early stages of the decline of the retail market in the downtown. Those upper stories were simply no longer needed.
See June’s post for several photographs and drawings of how the building has changed over the years.
And see the following York Daily Record/Sunday News story (3/4/08) for how the renovation is going:

Some downtown commuters might have recently overlooked the former Futer Bros. Jewelers store in York.
While the 158-year-old commercial landmark remains on one corner of Continental Square, the color of the building has shifted from bright white to dark red.
This weekend, workers with Maryland-based Bristol Construction Co. tore down the property’s metal siding to expose archaic brick peppered with concrete blocks that obstruct many of the façade’s windows.
CR Property Group, the developer of the project, has started to demolish the inside of the three-story building, including its cavernous basement.
Tom Berle, who is working with CR Property Group, said the developer has not decided how the building might be used but intends to grow the structure to seven stories, returning the exterior property to its 1850 appearance.
“We needed to uncover the interior and the exterior to see what we had and to see what we were working with,” he said. “We are working with the city to find the best use for the building.”
Matt Jackson, the city’s economic development director, said he believes that the best use for the renovated building would be office space. Businesses that require high visibility such as engineering, design, law, accounting and real estate firms would be well-suited for that building, he said.
Still, the building appears to need much work before any commercial tenants could call it home.
Monday, each floor of the building was littered with demolition debris — a clean-up job that Scott Sweitzer’s power-washing and lawn-service company in York plans to tackle by Friday.
Aside from the utter darkness pierced by the thin illuminated blades that emanated from flashlights, the basement appears to be a maze of storage shelves, exposed brick walls and unhinged light fixtures that hang from the ceiling.
Save for a kitchen island surrounded by a sea of demolition debris, a pool table and a toilet that rested on its side, the upper floors didn’t resemble the living quarters that once filled the space.
Matt Gurczynski, owner of Bristol Construction, said the awning that surrounds most of the building will come down and, eventually, the brick will cleaned and repaired.
“Keeping the integrity of the building isn’t hard,” he said. “But it is costly.”

Also, see blogger Scott Butcher’s post on the Hartman building: Hartman Building Showing True Colors.