Former state Sen. Gib Armstrong spent four decades restoring his 1770 farmhouse in Strasburg Township.

So it’s understandable that renovating an old four-story building on West Chestnut Street downtown has taken longer than intended.

But more than a decade after buying the building, then considering a change in plans for its use, Armstrong and his son Erik Armstrong are putting the finishing touches on six upscale apartment units.
The Armstrongs had initially considered condos or upscale apartments, but decided against them in favor of student housing, in part because of a lack of onsite parking. (The parking issue has since been resolved.)

Then, several years ago, Gib Armstrong recalled, he had Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray in to show him around early in the rehab work.

“He saw the beams and everything else and he said, ‘Gib, you should really seriously consider luxury apartments … You have the perfect building for it,’ ” Armstrong recalled in a recent interview.

Gray last week called the space beautiful.

“Great windows. Lots of light. Great location. Parking is easily accessible,” he said. And it’s got “maximum walkability” — close to numerous restaurants, the Fulton and Ware Center, Lancaster Central Market and other draws.

The 1898 building was designed by Lancaster’s first native professional architect, C. Emlen Urban.

It originally was the home of Long & Davidson, a wholesale shoe dealer, which occupied its western half. The eastern half, closer to North Queen Street, housed an import/export firm, a jewelry business and a lithography company, according to information compiled by Suzanne Stallings, the city’s historic preservation specialist.

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