$100M Commercial, Residential Project in Early Stages

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio — A proposed hotel, retail and residential development near Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course is in its early stages, leaving Trustee Jim Davis encouraged by what township officials have seen so far.

A developer approached the township zoning office with a project made up of two hotels, restaurants and retail establishments, and a single-family condominium complex, Davis reported. The project, with a price tag of more than $100 million, would be built at state Route 46 and Silica Road.

“The project is in its infant stages,” Davis said. “The only thing we’ve been in receipt of were some preliminary sketches of what the layout would be,” just to give the zoning office an idea whether the proposal would meet zoning requirements, he said.

No permit requests have yet been filed with the township. Township officials have scheduled a press conference for 11 a.m. today to address the project.

John Moliterno, interim executive director of the Western Reserve port Authority, acknowledged that representatives of the port authority, along with representatives of the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp. and the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber, have met with individuals involved with the development.

“We’re waiting for some other information to come back to us,” Moliterno said. “We stand to assist them in any way we can in helping make their project a reality.”

The financing tools the port authority offers include the ability to provide bond financing. It issued $60 million in bonds for the Hollywood Gaming racino here.

Two developers are involved, one handling the commercial aspects of the project, the other the residential development, Davis said.

According to accounts in other media, one aspect of the project might not come about as originally suggested. The proposed site of the residential component – an independent-living center – lacked the required zoning specifications, although the developer remains interested in the township, the Cleveland office of a real estate firm representing the firm said.

“We’re aware they may look at other areas in Austintown,” Davis said. If the developer wanted to go forward with the residential component at the original site, it would have to go through an appeal to have the zoning changed.

How the project proceeds depends on the developers, Davis said. “I’m not sure if they’ve acquired all the property they need. It’s up to the developers at this point to bring their funding and what they need to get together to be able to approach” In their approach, the developers would have to explain how they would move forward to secure the necessary permits, he said.

The project would mean thousands of construction jobs and additional employment opportunities for individuals to work in the hotels and other establishments.

“It would probably be safe to say that if they got things together here relatively quickly, you could probably see some development within the next 12 months and hopefully completion of the project within the next 24,” Davis said.

PICTURED: A stake is placed on the land at state Route 46 and Silica Road that developers are considering for the project.

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