South officials eye economic growth projects

A medical facility and an upscale 29-unit apartment complex are among projects potentially eyed for South Williamsport.

“Our borough council in 2019 amended the zoning ordinance to provide for medical office building as a permitted use in the borough industrial district,” said Steven W. Cappelli, borough manager.

A possible site to accommodate a UPMC medical office building is at River Front South Industrial Park located near Maynard Street, Cappelli said.

While UPMC has not confirmed or denied location for a possible medical building, its board of directors say they are open to discussion.

“UPMC in the Susquehanna region is always expanding our facilities to meet the needs of our patients,” said Tyler Wagner, a UPMC spokesman. “We have done some preliminary location searches in the area,” he said. “No plans have been made at this time.”

Daniel Cupp, borough council president, said the council and administration have taken proactive steps to amend zoning because there is no more room for expansion.

“We need to repurpose or recondition our buildings and properties,” he said.

Hutchinson Development, for instance, has been seeking to develop a three-story, 29-unit upscale apartment complex, Cappelli said. The complex may be sited at the location of the former Phillips Roofing Co. building, he said.

“This (apartment) project represents a $3 million investment in market-rate rent apartments for working professionals and retirees,” Cappelli said.

Additionally, borough officials are preparing to meet with the SEDA-Council of Governments early this year to advance discussions on an affordable senior housing project on Clark Street.

Two prior attempts by a developer in State College to construct the senior housing were not successful and impediments caused by the ordinance.

Jason Fink, president of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber stands willing to assist the community as it takes steps to prohibit unwanted development and better prepares for potential commercial and residential development.

The borough of about 5,000 residents has hired Codes Inspection Inc., as a vendor, rather than have its own codes enforcement and zoning personnel.

“Every effort is being made to work with residents and businesses to achieve the desired results without using a heavy hand,” Cappelli said.