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Third floor, please Moravian Manor moving into historic Rudy building
STEPHEN SEEBER Record Express Staff
, Staff Writer
Moravian Manor is planning a 72-acre expansion at the former Biemesderfer nursery, but its first move will be to downtown Lititz.
The sales and marketing office for its 15-year, $100 million Warwick Woodlands project will soon occupy the third floor of Rudy’s Hall. In August, it was announced that JoBoy’s restaurant and brewery would be moving into the first two floors. And the first of two basement boutiques, Next Door Home Decor & More, has now been claimed. Suddenly, Lititz’s largest commercial building, which has been idle for more than three years, is on the verge of being a bustling community hot spot in the vein of Miles Rudy’s vision when he constructed the brick icon way back in 1900.
Lisa Terry, who owns the historic building at 27-31 E. Main St. along with her husband Wes, closed the deal with Moravian Manor on Saturday.
"Wes and I feel very blessed that our vision and plans are coming to fruition," she said in an email to the Record Express. "It truly is gratifying that the Historic Rudy’s Hall, with an anchor restaurant, offices and retail spaces, will once again be fully utilized and preserved for the community to enjoy."
Moravian Manor was looking for a community setting to promote its Main Street-modeled development. And they didn’t have to go too far.
"We are very excited about new our location in Rudy’s Hall," said Nicole Michael, corporate director of sales and marketing. "What an amazing opportunity. I’m really looking forward to being downtown."
Warwick Woodlands will be based on a traditional neighborhood design. Homes will be closer together and integrated with restaurants, galleries and shopping. There will be lots of trees, and streets are smaller to promote pedestrian over vehicle traffic.
Moravian Manor’s marketing department bills it as a new downtown:
"Residents feel they are in the hub of activity … It’s easy to walk to the park or grab a beer at the pub … attend Fire & Ice, Artisans’ Porchwalk, Movies in the Park."
Construction of the 63 carriage homes, seven townhomes, 50 apartments and corner bistro is expected to begin in 2016. In the meantime, a model showroom will be set up at Rudy’s Hall.
"Our downtown is the heart of the culture and lifestyle of Lititz, and will be the heart of the culture and lifestyle of Warwick Woodlands," Michael said. "Potential residents can see and feel and participate first-hand in the vibrancy of their future hometown."
Anna Yerger, current Moravian Manor resident and granddaughter of Miles Rudy, joined Michael and Terry at the old community hall to share a few memories Tuesday morning.
"I did not have the privilege of knowing my grandfather, as he died when he was only 35, but he would be delighted that his building is being used for the betterment of people," she said. "My grandmother Rudy lived across the street from Rudy’s Hall. I remember the rooms in the basement were used for many things. One room was used by a hairdresser who used to do my hair."
Those basement shops, a unique element of the downtown landscape, have gone unused for a number of years. Mary Brinkley, who moved here from Atlanta just four months ago, is excited to put them back into business.
"I quickly fell in love with the cute and charming atmosphere," she said. "I immediately knew that I wanted to open up Next Door Home Decor & More, if I could find the right location. Well, I found it. I am so very eager and excited to be part of such a historical building right in the heart of downtown Lititz."
Brinkley specializes in customized hand-crafted and painted furniture, as well as vintage clothing and warm home decorations.
While Brinkley and Moravian Manor get settled into their new homes, renovations to the first two floors of the building are moving along in anticipation of JoBoy’s target opening in December or January.
"The progress is moving ahead full steam," said Terry. "The demolition contractors have completed the arduous task of carefully removing the old freight elevator, piece by piece, and have begun to remove the roofing and third floor walls that will need to be restructured."
That, she explained, will be followed by construction of the new stair tower and elevator tower, as well as the new back entrance and lobby. Mechanical contractors will then begin the sprinkler system installation, as well as the installation of new HVAC, new restrooms on all floors, and the installation of the new hospital-rated elevator.
"We are all hoping for occupancy in the beginning of the new year," she said.
More RUDY’S HALL, page A16