Conceptual plans for the redevelopment of Lemoyne Middle School involve removing portions of the abandoned school, while preserving certain parts — including, potentially, its historic façade — for a mixed-use infill project.
The Real Estate Collaborate of the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp. publicized the design options Thursday following two public meetings with Lemoyne area residents and a survey to gauge the community’s priorities.
The work was carried out by RGS Associates.
“We would like to thank the community of Lemoyne and RGS Associates for investing in thoughtful dialogue which will help frame the future development plans for the former Lemoyne Middle School,” said Shireen Farr, CAEDC interim CEO.
CAEDC’s REC bought the abandoned school at 701 Market St. in Lemoyne last year for $450,000.
CAEDC, a county-sponsored nonprofit agency, set up the REC in 2016 as a separate real estate investment arm, with the intent of buying blighted properties, designing re-use projects for them, and re-marketing the parcels to developers.
Two basic design concepts have been determined by RGS Associates for the site, according to information provided by CAEDC.
The first option would involve removing the back portion of the existing structure and building new residential units on the north side of the lot. The building’s façade along Market Street would be retained, with an addition, for commercial space.
The second option would involve removing the southern portion of the structure along Market Street to build a larger commercial space, but retaining portions of the rear of the building and retro-fitting the space for residential use.
In both options, the center portion of the parcel would be used as a parking lot, separating the commercial and residential areas of the site, with traffic access coming off Seventh Street.
Information will be presented to the Lemoyne Borough Planning Commission on Sept. 11 and to Lemoyne Borough Council Oct. 4.
There is “urgency for action” at the site, according to RGS Associates’ evaluation, given the ongoing physical deterioration of the structure as well as recent break-ins.
The exact layout of the residential areas has yet to be determined. When the property was acquired, CAEDC expressed interest in higher-density apartment buildings, which was met with pushback from the community.
Further, Lemoyne’s zoning ordinance currently restricts density to four residential units per building.
“Over the next 30 to 60 days we’re going to run the numbers and see how many units we would need for it to make sense financially,” said CAEDC Communications Director Kristin Rowe.