Project Update: Union House Apartments

Take a look at the stunning progress that has been made in the Israel Building of our Union House Apartments Project! This is part of an $11 million adaptive-reuse job involving the restoration of two very historic buildings that each date back to the early 1900’s. The buildings are owned by Home Leasing. Their restoration will turn them into affordable housing units in Lykens, PA, which will offer tenants Federal Low Income Tax Credits as well as Historic Tax Credits.

From the looks of it, things are off to an excellent start! The gleaming wood, large windows, and beautiful natural lighting are all sure to please those who move in. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as this historical project is completed.

Union House Apartments

Union House Apartments, Israel Building

Israel Bldg 0031

TNWS Amazing Kid’s Club Celebrates Groundbreaking Ceremony

On Friday, April 21st SAAarchitects was proud to be a part of the groundbreaking ceremony for TrueNorth Wellness Services’ Amazing Kid’s Club. The club will offer counseling and therapy services to children in preschool through 21 years of age who are on the autism spectrum. We are honored to support such an impactful and inspirational program.

To design the building, cues were taken from the on-site barn structure, and items from the barn were saved in order to be authentically incorporated. The space will feature 24,000 GSF of new construction and will include 21 therapy rooms, 2 training kitchens, large gross motor skills rooms, an art room, a sensory therapy and relaxation therapy room, and meeting rooms and offices for staff members.

Our firm was able to develop and provide complete interior design services for this project, and in doing so, we got to work closely with the staff to choose the perfect finishes to enhance their therapeutic environment and properly stimulate the children who visit.

To complete this project, we;ve partnered with Holland Construction (GC,) Paragon Engineering Services (MEP,) Durst & Taylor Structural Engineers, and Gordon L. Brown Associates (civil engineers.) We look forward to seeing the beautiful building when it is complete, and to watching TNWS Amazing Kid’s Club as it expands, thrives, and changes lives! Check back for updates.

TrueNorth Groundbreaking Ceremony

TrueNorth Groundbreaking Ceremony

Self Storage Trio Dubbed ‘Dream Team’

York-based companies SAAarchitects, Storage Construction, and Storage Asset Management have all worked within the self storage industry along the Eastern Seaboard. The trio continues to team together on some impressive projects, and has thus gotten to know each others’ methods and industry approaches thoroughly. Over the last 15 years, their collaborative accomplishments have birthed an industry team that is able to provide greater benefits to clients than ever before, earning them the title of “Self Storage Dream Team” as dubbed by several current clients.

SAAarchitects is an award-winning architectural firm led by President Mark D. Shermeyer AIA, LEED ® GA and Vice President Danika R. S. Dallam NCARB LEED ® GA. After celebrating a 20-year anniversary milestone this year, the firm has continued to provide complete planning and design services to clientele across Pennsylvania and along the eastern seaboard states, reaching as far south as Florida and as far north as Massachusetts. The company’s portfolio is diverse, and includes 3.1 million square-feet (SF) of self-storage industry projects and over 75 storage facilities. Some of these projects include development of a prototype and signature look for multi-facility developers, conversions of historic structures to self storage that have received preservation awards, and creative solutions of challenging sites or existing structures to maximize net rentable space. All of these projects are approached with a fresh perspective to focus on exceeding clients’ expectations and desired end results.

Storage Asset Management (SAM) is a self-storage focused Third Party Management company owned by Jay Hoke and Alyssa Quill. SAM is also located in York, PA. The company boasts over 50 years of industry experience and over 160 employees at their store, regional, and corporate levels. Together they manage over 75 properties that encompass more than 3.4 million SF of self storage. They work to serve self storage owners throughout the U.S who are looking for additional management assistance, and also assist owners with marketing, revenue management, training, financial reporting, and property management.

Storage Construction is another neighboring York, PA company led by Scott Forry and Rod Lockhard. They provide both general contractor and construction management services primarily for the Mid-Atlantic region exclusively for the self-storage industry. Their team has constructed over 50 self storage facilities in excess of 2 million square feet. Having also owned, managed and operated their own 50-plus facilities over the past 17 years, they are industry experts.

When their services combine, these companies offer an incredible amount of collaborative knowledge to provide a seamless process from start to finish–even for the experienced owner. The team can assist any client from the initial feasibility analysis and design phase through permit approval and construction, followed by ongoing facility marketing and management. There is no doubt that with their combined efforts this “Dream Team” will continue to accomplish great things in the industry, and leave happy clients in their wake.

Dream Team

Dream Team

Penn Center Project Highlight

The former Sears building, originally built in 1964, that sits along business route 22 in Pittsburgh, PA is getting a face-lift. The building totals around 160,000 square feet, and will offer retail spaces as well as self storage. It will be known as the Penn Center East building complex.

The building’s new facade will be made up of cast stone surrounding the store fronts, giving it a fresh and beautiful look. The inside will be steel-framed with masonry infill. The mixed uses offered by the facility’s layout will allow the owner to tailor offerings to changes in market trends and customer needs.

We are proud to pair with CJL Engineering, CEC Engineering and AES Engineering to work on this project, and wish the Penn Center East building complex much success! Check back to see updates as construction on this project as it officially begins through completion.

Penn Center East Complex

Penn Center East Complex

Sneak Peek: Roselle Self Storage

Have a sneak peek this week at one of our upcoming projects: Roselle Self Storage. Construction on this beautiful building is set to start soon. The historic building involved was formerly Roselle Paper Company factory, and this project will work to convert it into 130,000 GSF of self-storage space. Care will be taken to preserve the historic Art Deco facades of the building, which will have direct access for the convenience of customers on both it’s front two levels and its rear levels. To complete this project, we are pairing with Storage Construction for construction management, Providence Engineering Corporation for structural engineering, and Paragon Engineering Services for MEP engineering. Check back with us to see the progress we make and, of course, the final photos!

Roselle Self Storage

Roselle Self Storage

Making the Best of Misfortunes

Recently, those of us at SAAarchitects learned very well how to make the best of an unfortunate situation. On January 1st of this year, a fire started in our office building, on the floor just above us. The fire caused the building’s automatic sprinkler system to turn on, which in turn caused water damage to approximately 1/3-1/2 of our office area. Although we were disappointed in the extent of the water damage, we couldn’t possibly imagine the level of damage that may have occurred if these sprinkler systems were not in place and working properly.

Because our existing flooring is discontinued, the water damage suffered meant that we had to replace our entire office floor. Additionally, we had to repaint and reconstruct our custom built-in desks and cabinetry, and replace both office equipment and furniture. During this time, we were grateful to be able to keep the office open and fully functioning with all usual staff.

While we don’t wish this type of experience on anyone, it gave us an opportunity to use a bit of our expertise on planning renovations for our own building, and it certainly reminded our staff of how fortunate we truly are.

Fire Photos


Fire Misfortunes


Susquehanna Logistics Project

Just a quick check-in on an industrial project we have been working on for Susquehanna Logistics. This warehouse project involves the construction of a 423,300 GSF building which will serve as a major distribution center for the Mid-Atlantic.

We worked to provide tenant fit-out services for a two-phase fit-out as well as interior design services for the office area. The project’s timeline was a fast turn-around (as they sometimes are) of just 3 months for the completion of drawings and construction. Once again we partnered with Keystruct Construction who worked as the Design-Build Contractor to accomplish this. Have a sneak peek at a photo below!


Turn Your Clocks, Check Your Smoke Detector Batteries

This weekend, don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead and test the batteries on your smoke alarms, CO2 detectors, and flash lights. Connecting these two tasks in your mind will help you to remember to check the batteries in the important devices in your home at least once yearly. If you need to put new batteries into your smoke or CO2 alarms, be sure to test them after the replacement. Use high-quality batteries to ensure a longer shelf-life, and, if you have any doubts about the working condition of your alarms and flashlights, replace them.

Establishing important safety habits in your home and business can save your life. What are some other ways you can stay safety-minded in the places you live and work?

Keep kits handy – First aid and disaster kids can be very helpful in the event of unforeseen injuries and emergencies.

Formulate your escape plan – Have a detailed escape plan in the case of a fire, earthquake, or other emergency event in both your home or office. Make sure you are aware of where fire exits are located when entering a new building, and, in the case of an emergency, refrain from using elevators.

Stay Informed – What types of weather-related emergencies are more likely to occur in your area? How can you best respond to these emergencies? Do you know where you are safest in the case of a tornado warning, for example? Being informed means being prepared.

As architects, we think in safety-focused ways in all that we do. Carrying these practices over into our personal lives and the lives of our clients is important, too. Remember, when you turn ahead your clocks this weekend, test your batteries. Being prepared is always a good thing!

Smoke Detector

The Importance of Architects

Try to imagine a world without buildings, or buildings without elements of design. Things look pretty bleak, don’t they? This is a world without architecture, and a world without architects.

The gifts that architects have imparted on our society over the years are too numerous to count, and are often overlooked. As we live and breathe this industry on a daily basis, we decided to put together a list of a few of our favorite things about being in the profession.

1.) ARCHITECTS SIMULTANEOUSLY THINK ON MANY LEVELS – Yes, architects think like designers, but we also think in terms of safety, liability, efficiency, and open space. Our consistent goal is to cover all the bases as we plan new projects. We have to be whole-brain thinkers at all times in order to ensure that our plans are whole as well. This level of multitasking isn’t an easy task, and is something that we’re quite proud of.

2.) ARCHITECTS ARE ALWAYS THINKING OF OTHERS – It’s the nature of our job: we spend the day thinking of other people as we plan. Our focus is to improve our clients’ quality of life, whether it is where they live, work or play. We’re wired to focus on client’s needs and goals and to make their wishes a reality. Whatever your vision might be, we can guarantee that it will become our focus until it becomes a tangible product that you can enjoy.

3.) ARCHITECTS ARE EDUCATED- We know our stuff, because our line of work requires that we do. We are trained to design while protecting the safety and overall welfare of each of our project’s inhabitants. To ensure that we can accomplish this undertaking, we have to be experts at what we do every step of the way. We have dedicated ourselves to consistent learning because we understand the importance of following new trends, keeping up with industry best practices, and taking advantage of continued education opportunities. For as long as we practice architecture, we will also be lifelong students.

4.) ARCHITECTS CREATE INSPIRATION – You know that great feeling of awe that overwhelms you when you’re standing in front of a well-designed building? An architect is behind that. This power to inspire is part of why we love what we do, and why it is our passion. There’s nothing better than planning every important aspect of places that will inspire our clients and will help them to live out their dreams.

5.) ARCHITECTS RENEW THE COMMUNITY – On a regular basis, we get to turn buildings that are old, rundown, broken and dismantled, into fresh, new, reinvented, healthy living and working environments for locals. In this way, one building at a time, we help to restore and refurbish cities. Our line of work allows us to make the places we live, work and play safer, better and more enjoyable. Pretty amazing if you ask us!



February 24, 2017

History refreshed: Union House Apartments

Take a peek at the start of one of our latest projects: the Union House Apartments in Lykens, PA. This is an $11 million adaptive-reuse project that involves the renovation of two very historic buildings into 27 units of affordable housing.

The iconic buildings involved include the former Lykens Hotel and the Israel building, each built around 1902-1903. The Israel building is a late Victorian-era commercial building which was originally used as retail spaces as well as a meeting spot for multiple fraternal lodges. The Lykens Hotel is a 4-story Beaux Arts building complete with an ornate lobby, dining areas, and bank spaces. It was developed and funded through the Hockenbury System for community development.

Due to its location, this new renovation will be able to offer tenants Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits through PHFA (LIHTC) as well as Historic Tax Credits through NPS. The building is owned by Home Leasing.

To complete this project, we will be partnering with Edgemere Development. We look forward to seeing the finished project, and to working within such a historically-rich area, once the center of the coal trade for the upper end of the state.

Union House Apartments

Union House Apartments

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