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Midtown Harrisburg Adaptive Reuse Walking Tour

Education Row in Midtown Harrisburg. View of Commonwealth Connections heading northwest. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Fuhrman, BIM Manager at LSC Design.

Cities throughout Pennsylvania are in the midst of an urban revival that is relying heavily on community involvement, education and sustainability. It should come to no surprise, that the capital of PA is playing an active role in this movement as well. The USGBC’s Central PA Chapter hosted an Adaptive Reuse and Urban Renewal walking tour of Midtown Harrisburg that was too good not to share. Sometimes you just have to get out of the office for some fresh air and inspiration. We don’t always have the opportunity to visit brownfield projects after they’ve been restored and put back into active use. Whether we worked on a project or not, it’s always great to visit a vibrant community committed to restoring the past. On this Field Day Friday, we would like to show you a sneak peak of some of the places we visited on the walking tour.

The tour began at Startup (), Harrisburg’s first coworking space, but it was evident that education was leading the way in Midtown’s urban renewal. In 2006 the former Evangelical Press Building was purchased and redeveloped by Greenworks Development. The building is now home to HACC’s Midtown II Campus. As their name suggests, Greenworks redeveloped the project with sustainability and smart growth practices in mind. Shortly thereafter, a corner gas station located across the street was remediated and developed into Campus Square, a mixed-use building that includes Commonwealth Connections Academy, a K through 12 public cyber school. Together, these structures have created an area known as “Education Row”, a corridor that provides a unique learning experience beginning at pre-school all the way to an associate’s degree at HACC in two to three block area along Third Street. Education Row is expanding this year with an early learning childcare center is being developed next door.

While education is at the forefront of Midtown Harrisburg’s revitalization efforts, a mixed use of commercial and residential properties are popping up alongside these facilities. Midtown is becoming an arts and culture destination, with the Susquehanna Art Museum and The Millworks, an art gallery/farm-to-table restaurant opening their doors this year. All redeveloped brownfields built with green building methods and their own unique story to tell.
It was apparent to us that Midtown is becoming a vibrant urban area to work, play and learn. But you shouldn’t take our word for it, check it out for yourself.

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