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Old 08-11-2010, 03:46 PM
 
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I'm a single professional looking for anyone who can chime in on the best areas to live in Harrisburg. Just took a job off exit 72 on 81 and looking for an apartment within 15-20 minutes. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:04 PM
 
Location: Downtown Harrisburg
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Oh man, I love these kinds of posts!

What kind of apartment are you looking for? Would you rather have a garden-style complex (pseudo-townhouses) or a high-rise? Would you prefer living in the city, suburbs, or a rural area? What's your budget?

Exit 72 is Paxtang / Mountain Road, if I'm not mistaken. You've really got a choice of decent complexes in Lower Paxton township. Susquehanna Township also has some really unique split-level loft condos (Cherrington and Waverly Woods) that frequently go up for rent.

Being a single professional myself, I love living downtown. I have a top-floor corner apartment in a downtown hirise for $850 / mo, which includes reserved indoor parking and all utilities. I love being able to walk to all the cultural events and festivals, having Riverfront Park a block away, and being able to walk to the train station when I want to get away to NY for the weekend. And being within walking distance of all the downtown nightlife & entertainment doesn't hurt.

Executive House and The Grayco are, in my opinion, the two best large apartment buildings downtown. The Grayco is very classy but lacks parking, while Executive House looks a little run-down from the outside but gives you massive bang for your buck. You should also look at Old City Hall and Towne House. Pennsylvania Place is another residential hirise, but I have not had good luck there. The city has lots of independent and one-off apartments for rent if you don't mind taking the time to walk around and look for "For Rent" signs.

Midtown is more residential than downtown. I always say that if downtown is hirises and martini lounges, midtown is century-old townhomes and coffee houses. Midtown has seen some very successful development over the last few years, and has a new condo midrise (1500 Project) about 12-18 months out. I will probably move to midtown once our city's finances get stabilized and once some reasonably-priced townhouses enter the market.

If you can give us some more information, we can probably make some better suggestions.
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:35 PM
 
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Old 08-20-2010, 04:26 PM
 
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Thanks for your help. I was looking to stay in Harriburg city and was looking at some of the highrises dowtown this week. The Grayco had no available aprtments and I am waiting until the begining of the week top hear from the Executive. Old City Hall has availability but they seem somewhat more overpriced for what you are getting in comparison to the others I have seen. Does anyone have any first hand input on Executive house or Old City Hall? There seems to be some conflicting opinions regarding Executive house online (I know you can't trust everything online, but still somewhat concerning) which is why if anyone has lived/is living there now, I would love to hear from you. How about Towne House or any other housing that you would recommend (downtown, midtown) if any. As far as a budget I would like to stay under $1000/month which would include all parking/utilties etc. which is why I'm having some reservation about Old City Hall. Thanks, I would really appreciate any input you guys have.
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Downtown Harrisburg
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I live in Executive House right now. I'm presently at work, so I'll post a more detailed summary when I get home. For now, I did some posts about this a few months back on my blog:

Harrisburg Apartments: Crunch Time « floor9.com (http://floor9.com/2010/01/20/harrisburg-apartments-crunch-time/ - broken link)

Harrisburg Apartments, Day Four: Executive House « floor9.com (http://floor9.com/2010/01/18/harrisburg-apartments-day-four-executive-house/ - broken link)

I do like living there, but it isn't flawless. Details in a few more hours ...
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Old 08-23-2010, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Downtown Harrisburg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlb1119 View Post
Does anyone have any first hand input on Executive house or Old City Hall? There seems to be some conflicting opinions regarding Executive house online (I know you can't trust everything online, but still somewhat concerning) which is why if anyone has lived/is living there now, I would love to hear from you.
Starting with your other complexes, here are my thoughts from my whirlwind tour about six months ago:

The Grayco was amazing. I'm not surprised to hear they're at 100% occupancy. It's been beautifully restored and the management seems really pro-active. They are marketing towards a younger crowd and it shows in the building demographics. I especially liked the rooftop deck, and the fact that it's just a block away from downtown's entertainment. Unfortunately, it lacked parking, it lacked dishwashers, and the air conditioning arrangement seemed inadequate and expensive. Still, given all their strengths, I'd consider moving there if they would just fix one of those three problems.

Towne House was nice. I especially liked the corner one-bedroom units with balconies overlooking Cameron Street. I didn't take Towne House because I felt the price was a little steep. Old City Hall was very unique and is one of only three loft complexes that I know of in the area (the others being Simon Cameron School along Green and Lofts at 909 along Forster). Still, given their high ceilings and all-electric heat, I was concerned about the cost.

Executive House is where I decided to move. It's not perfect, but it's close. Here's the lowdown.

First off, the maintenance here is top-shelf. I've lived here a total of six years ('99-'04 and again starting this past February) and the few maintenance requests I've had have all been resolved on the same or next day. EH also repaints every apartment and replaces all the carpet in-between tenants. This is a HUGE plus, because you don't have to smell your apartment's prior occupant's pets / cooking / smoking / etc.

Having attached parking is great. Especially after that winter pounding we took this year, I am officially spoiled on never having to clear my car or haul groceries in through a downpour. The staff is always very accommodating with parking for overnight guests, though they need a few days' notice. To be honest, the garage is very dusty. It's not like you're stomping through a dirt field or anything, but a good powerwashing would really help. Here's a pic:



EH is a downtown apartment hirise, so expect a constant dull roar from the city below. Apartments on the Second Street side of the building will get noticeable noise from ambulances and firetrucks -- try to get one on the opposite side. You don't hear your neighbors in your apartment, though you might hear a TV in the hallway if someone has it cranked.

Since all utilities are included, that means free A/C and free heat. I can probably crank it down to the mid 60s here in the summer, and I could easily hit the upper 70s in the winter. You have two or three blowers in your apartment that you control (off / low / med / high). I like things cold, so during the summer I typically use all three on low and in the winter I use one on low.

The laundry facilities are sufficient -- but just barely. About four months ago I called up the service company and ripped them a new one because half of the washers and 25% of the dryers were out of service for over a week. Since then not a single unit has malfunctioned. Washers and dryers are both $1.50 / load, and a dryer will dry two washers' worth of clothing.

The building is probably about 50% 20/30-something professionals. I see a number of my neighbors at Privado / Molly's / Ceoltas every weekend. There are some older folks here, one or two children (ridiculous), and no section 8. People in this building are pretty friendly, and I've gotten to know my neighbors almost immediately no matter what floor I lived on.

There are a number of groceries within walking distance. One on Fourth near Chestnut, one on Third about a block off Chestnut, and one on Second next to Molly's. Every downtown bar / lounge / nightclub is within easy (and safe) walking distance, so you never have to worry about driving home. Riverfront Park is one block away, and City Island is easily within walking distance. The best Chinese food is at 2nd Wok, Sandwich Man has the best subs, and when you just want good-old American pub food, the Gingerbread Man is a block away. Troegs and Appalachian Brewing Company are both 15-minute walks. Amtrak is three blocks from here -- outstanding for weekend getaways to NY.

EH doesn't charge a premium for higher floors. And since the view gets better the higher you go, it goes without saying that you should take the highest available apartment. The view of the river is spectacular from the upper floors, but even the city side is impressive:



Now, as I said, EH isn't flawless. We have a false fire alarm about once a month, and without fail, it will happen at the single most inconvenient time. I suspect this happens in every hi-rise, though. The building could use some cosmetic refreshing. Our lobby and hallways are visibly dated and the paint on the edges of the balconies is peeling off. The elevators, while sufficient, are from the 1960s and could use replaced. I could really nitpick and complain that the basement has a lot of exposed conduits and the stairwells are ugly, but that's really pushing it.

Bear in mind that EH is the least expensive hirise in Harrisburg. For that, you would expect it to be a run-down dump, and it isn't. I think the exterior (let's be honest; it's ugly) of the building turns a lot of people off, but once you look inside and see the huge apartments with everything included, you realize what a hidden gem this place is.

EH is about 15 minutes from exit 72. If you have any specific questions or want my honest opinion on anything else, feel free to ask.
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Old 08-27-2010, 06:09 PM
 
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Thanks for your post Floor9 it was great and a great help. I'm waiting to hear from Executive house; they may have some aprtments becoming available. In the meantime, does anyone have any opinion regarding River Plaza aprtments on north front street. Thanks again.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:13 PM
 
Location: Downtown Harrisburg
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Glad to help! I have never heard anything about River Plaza. Personally I found the apartments to be a little small. You have easy access to Riverfront Park and one of the main arteries into / out of the city (Front Street). You are about a half mile from the heart of midtown. About two years ago the current owners sued the previous owners over un-disclosed problems. I wouldn't be thrilled about walking from River Plaza to the heart of midtown (say, Third & Verbeke) at night unless I followed Front Street the whole way. I would not call the in-between neighborhoods "bad" by any means, it's just that if I wanted to go find trouble late at night, that's one of the places I'd look.

If EH doesn't pan out, and if you have the time, consider walking through the neighborhoods (during the daytime) from Verbeke Street heading south alone Third & Second and looking down the sidestreets for "For Rent" signs. There are a number of smaller apartment buildings and converted homes in that area. The Parkway near Front & Maclay has always intrigued me, and there's an unmarked mid-rise at or near 711 North Second.

One last place you might want to check out is Simon-Cameron School on Green Street near Dauphin Street. It's an old school that was converted into loft apartments in the 1970s. It's very similar to Old City Hall, but the rent is (or was) considerably cheaper because the surrounding neighborhood might be a little too urban for some people. You are right on the borderline between urban renewal and urban neglect. To each their own.

Last edited by DowntownHarrisburg; 08-28-2010 at 07:07 PM..
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