Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Community Impact – Private Public Partnership  

The proposed site of Savoy 48, although now just a vacant infill lot in Harrisburg, is in a setting with a  historical past.  In the 1950’s until the late 1980’s this portion of 6th street was an economic hub for the African American  community. There were barber shops, restaurants, music outlets, dry cleaners, taverns, and access to  medical support. Despite its significance to Harrisburg, the 1500 block of N. 6th Street has seen  disinvestment and abandonment as evidenced by the deteriorated condition of many of the structures on the block. Per the City’s 2017 Comprehensive Plan, Savoy 48 is in the 6th Street Corridor within Harrisburg’s Central  Business District. Bounded by Harris Street, 5th Street, Reilly Street and 6th Street, the Corridor at one  time contained housing and businesses that supported the railroads to the east. Over time homes and  stores have been lost to demolition and neglect.  

Savoy 48 is just one of the new projects ongoing and planned for the 6th Street Corridor. Among these  improvements are a $192 million Federal courthouse currently under construction at 6th and Reilly Street,  estimated to be substantially completed by late 2022, and the exterior of the building is estimated to be completed by winter of 2022. Also, a $15 million renovation of the Harrisburg Transportation Center, a  $130 million tower with academic facilities at Harrisburg University, the newly constructed $70 million PA  State Archive building and the $25 million Catherine Hershey School for Early Learning.  

Areas of Focus

● A lack of affordable housing for low-income residents and the disabled.

● A lack of market rate options for new residents and potential incoming transplants

● A lack of economic opportunities for minority businesses.

● The need to transform what was once a thriving, historic African American neighborhood, and is now largely blighted, into an area of economic prosperity

Community Need

The Savoy 48 site is located within US Census tract 203, which has been designated a Qualified Census Tract (QCT) by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. By definition, at least 50 percent  of households in QCTs have incomes below 60 percent of AMI or have a poverty rate of 25 percent or more. In Census Tract 203, 33.87% of persons have incomes below the poverty line. An October 2018 article in the Greater Harrisburg Community Magazine, reporting on a citywide housing  study, predicted a “shortfall of more than 200 rental units at all price points over the next three years”.  

MBE/WBE Participation  

Recent episodes of protests and civil unrest have revealed the persistence of systemic racism on health  outcomes and economic wealth in the City of Harrisburg, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the  nation. The greater susceptibility to illness has been tied to disparities in income and wealth between white  Americans and those of color and lack of opportunity for minority-owned businesses. Among the  applicable statistics is the percentage of state contracts being awarded to minority firms. According to a  recent Disparity Study, just 4.5% of contracts authorized in 2018 by Pennsylvania’s Department of  Government Services were awarded to minority and women owned businesses.

A Minority Business Opportunity

The concept of developing a mixed use and mixed income project on the Savoy 48 site was spearheaded by Vice Capital LLC, a Pennsylvania-based, minority-owned developer with ties to the local community.  

Eliminating Blight

Savoy 48 will contribute to blight elimination by creating a new multifamily structure on a vacant parcel on an urban, infill site. It will complement other activities on the 1500 block of N. 6th Street, including the  restoration of many unique buildings on this historical block.

Savoy 48 is just one of the new projects ongoing and planned for the 6th Street Corridor, a residential and commercial link between Harrisburg’s central neighborhoods. Among these improvements are a $192  million-dollar Federal courthouse now under construction at 6th and Reilly Streets, a $15 million renovation of the Harrisburg Transportation Center, a $130 million tower at Harrisburg University and a  $24 million new state archives building.