Economic Development

He Climbs Mountains and Scales Downtown Projects

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The new owner of the Gallagher Building downtown, Ryan Sheridan, said Tuesday that he is eager to begin work on the property and is in “active discussions” to secure financing.

State officials have indicated that the historic preservation tax credit secured by the former owner of the building, the Gatta Co. in Niles, would transfer to the new owner, Sheridan said in an interview Tuesday morning.

Sheridan, owner and executive director of Braking Point Recovery Center, was at the Rich Center for Autism at Youngstown State University to present a check for $5,500 to the center, funds he raised by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro last month.

Back home, he is putting the pieces together for the Gallagher project. He purchased the building, at the intersection of North Hazel and West Commerce streets, in January for $280,000.

The project is “actually moving along farther than I thought we’d be able to,” he said. State officials have agreed that as long as his project was “apples to apples with what was being done with it before” that the $1.3 million tax credit should transfer.

Sheridan’s plans for the property include commercial space on the first floor. Several restaurants have reached out to him about space, he reported. Efficiency and two-bedroom apartments are planned for the upper levels.

“Chemical Bank is reviewing everything and I believe they’re going to be the financial backer,” he said. “If it was up to me, we’d be doing construction right now.”

Once the tax credits are in place – which he hopes will be in the next 90 days — and final bank approval secured, “We’re going to get people in there and begin construction,” he said.

“We look forward to meeting with him to discuss what he wants to do with the building,” Mayor John McNally said.

Sheridan had been working to meet with city officials regarding the project but had to postpone because of his trip to Mount Kilimanjaro.

T. Sharon Woodberry, Youngstown director of community planning and economic development, said she has been in discussions with Sheridan and is working to set up a meeting.

“We just need to get some understanding of where he’s getting his market research and that he has the financing,” Woodberry said, as well as his timetable. She deems it a step forward that the building has a new owner who has proposed a project. The city “can’t allow that building to continue to stay vacant because it will continue to deteriorate,” she added.

Sheridan lives in an apartment in the Realty Tower.

“It’s incredible to see the growth and the people and the nightlife that is growing down there,” he continued. “I want to be part of something like that and help bring something back.”

Sheridan is also developing a restaurant with an “industrial coastal” theme in Wick Tower downtown, he said. He has been working on that project with Olsavsky Jaminet Architects the past seven months and has contracted with engineers in Pittsburgh to do the kitchen. He anticipates taking bids and beginning construction in March, he said Tuesday.

Sheridan raised the money for the Rich Center by climbing to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in 36 hours.

The Rich Center provides education and therapies for autistic children ages 2½ to 21, said Melanie Carfolo, executive director. “Right now our focus is on providing additional therapies to our students,” she said. “Our students are in dire need of additional services.”

Sheridan was introduced to the Rich Center last year. “It was inspiring to see the work that goes on here,” he said.

On a previous mountain climb, Sheridan encountered others who were doing it to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. “I decided right then that if I did it again, I would do it for someone else, not just my own goals,” he said.

With all the attention his effort has brought, he hopes that when people hear the Rich Center is having a fundraiser, they “will open their checkbooks and open their hearts and make a donation,” he added.

Sheridan also is keeping busy with Braking Point, which is expanding its Austintown center into an adjacent building. Braking Point, which provides an array of services to treat drug and alcohol abuse, will move its outpatient services into the additional 10,000-square-foot space.

“Next week they’re going to start working on it. We closed on the property last week,” he said. “I would hope in the next 30 days it will be finished, inspected by the state and officially expanded.”

The Austintown center has expanded from eight employees when it opened to 135 “and we’re still hiring,” he said.

In addition, the clinic Braking Point opened outside Columbus in January is full and Sheridan was headed last night to Wooster, where he is closing the purchase of a nursing home Feb. 28. There he plans to establish a detox center and outpatient service. He expects that to be up and running in 90 days, he said.

“And there are plans for a fourth” clinic, he said.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.