John Meeder started his real estate career in the early 1980’s as a commercial real estate agent. Drawn to development, in 1984 he formed Meeder Development Company (MDC) and Meedcor Realty to develop, market, and manage real estate.
Early MDC projects were either historic rehabilitation properties or small suburban infill properties developed as residential or commercial condominiums. MDC seized the opportunity to build small commercial condominium complexes providing the opportunity for small businesses to own a piece of strategically located real estate.
In the 1980s, Meeder took on the challenge of utilizing tax credits in development by using the newly available Low Income Housing Tax Credits and often combined the LIHTC with Historic Tax credits and other programs. With this new capability, MDC developed three projects with a combined 168 units and a total combined cost of $12,200,000.00.
One of the more challenging projects in the MDC portfolio is City Crossings, a 34,000 square foot historic renovation of the burned out Haddad Shoe Factory, transforming it into a commercial/office condominium. The complexity of this project doubled due to the need to acquire the significantly contaminated parking lot that could not be conventionally financed and required years of remediation. In all, eleven sources of financing, along with creative financing/ownership arrangements with the Redevelopment Authority of Lancaster City were used to facilitate the elimination of blight on this very visible city property.
More Recently, Meeder has utilized New Market Tax Credits, Recovery Zone Facility Bonds, Commonwealth Finance Authority Guaranties and City Revitalization Improvement Zone Financing (CRIZ) to get projects done.
Meeder has developed relationships with local banks, investors and especially the Community First Fund to facilitate and underwrite challenging projects in Lancaster.
Much of MDC’s efforts in the recent years have been dedicated to mixed use development and the creative reuse of properties in the Lancaster Downtown. Four significant efforts that took several years to accomplish are:
- Christian Street Court
- Center City Lofts
- Historic East Side Suites and the new Subway Building
- The Hotel Lancaster and Lancaster Square
Combined, these properties have changed the face of downtown Lancaster. Christian Street Court, anchored by Godfrey Advertising combined with Center City Lofts, brought over 175 jobs to Downtown Lancaster and introduced a very successful and desirable residential condominium ownership project with Center City Lofts. The development of these projects brought life to the east side of the first block of North Queen Street.
The award winning Historic East Side Suites is an example of perseverance, creativity, and obtaining critical support from major community stakeholders. The 100 block of East King Street has turned from blight to a point of pride and utility for the City of Lancaster. The project required perseverance to blend the six sources of financing and cooperation from sixteen collaborators from governmental , quasi-governmental agencies, and private firms to launch this project. The project also included a newly constructed 2 story building that is anchored by a Subway and has a very upbeat dance space above. Although not a large building, it represents the care and attention to detail demonstrated by Meeder Development when developing at the core of the City.