What’s BB&T to be?

By on December 13, 2017

There may soon be a new tenant at the BB&T building in downtown Lititz.

The year began as it will likely end for Lititz residents who once again ponder what is to become of an iconic downtown building.

It looks like a business could soon move into the former Susquehanna Bank headquarters most recently occupied by BB&T.

BB&T officials, on Oct. 4, said there’s a deal in place to sell the property while at the same time announcing it was closing its administrative offices at 26 N. Cedar St. and laying off another 82 employees.

Bob Wolf, of NAI Commercial Partners, confirmed that the property is under agreement but a gag order prevented him from saying with whom.

The deal is in a “due-diligence period” and the prospective buyer has until the end of the month to decide.

“At that point the prospective buyer would either agree to the deal or put the property bank on the market,” Wolf said Tuesday.

Similar to the announced sale early this year of the former Wilbur plant, at 47 N. Broad St., the public waits in suspense to find out who are the players involved in determining what happens at the BB&T-owned, Cedar Street building.

A strong candidate is Lancaster General Health, which notified 400 office workers — part of its workforce at Burle Business Park — that it’s considering moving to 26 N. Cedar St.

LGH Spokesman John Lines said Monday that a move to Lititz is one of a number of options the organization is considering — as early as fall 2018 — but said it has no purchase or lease agreement.

In the meantime, interested residents, businesses, community leaders, and others can only speculate on what the future might bring locally.

Elijah Yearick, Lititz director of Planning & Community Development, said he’s heard very little about the potential deal besides what been reported in the newspapers.

The Lititz Record Express asked how adding 400 employees — to what locals refer to as the “mill building” — might affect parking, local businesses and borough tax revenues.

“More employees would help with EIT (Earned Income Tax), but we’ve heard that the biggest impact of Susquehanna moving out was the impact on local businesses,” he said. “Hopefully any reoccupation of the mill building would help return daily customers back to downtown.

As for parking concerns, “Susquehanna had enough spaces to accommodate their employees and we knew they’d eventually come back into use if the building was reoccupied,” Yearick said.

He said the borough has worked with some of the other businesses that had been relying on BB&T’s lots.

“At this point, I’m not aware of any that are exclusively relying on them,” he said. “If you come across any, please have them reach out to me.”

Nathan Wertsch, Warwick School District business manager, said it’s difficult to comment on what is still “only a potential move.”

“And even if it were to happen there would be no way to know a direct comparison in impact to that of Wilbur, BB&T, etc.”

That said, he noted that once specific impacts are known, “we naturally incorporate that in the budgeting process.”

“As usual, this is not something we will speculate on nor put an exact dollar amount to,” he said.

April Hershey, Warwick Supervisor, said the added employees would have minimal impact on the district’s enrollment side.

“Even if for some reason there would be a facility here that would have an influx of positions, it likely will not affect our enrollment in any significant way as housing in our district is very limited,” Hershey said in an e-mail Monday.

As for potential revenues flowing into the school district, Wertsch said EIT revenues have increased steadily despite the loss of hundreds of jobs over the past few years at Wilbur, Susquehanna and BB&T.

“Our annual revenues have continued to grow every year despite any of the company shakeups within our boundaries, and we anticipate that to continue and is reflected in our budget,” he said.

Patrick Burns is social media editor and staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

 

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