Economic Development

Army Corps Approves Enterprise Park Permit

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – There is no indication when the Cafaro Co. might move forward on its long-discussed Enterprise Park at Eastwood development, following the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ issuance of a necessary permit last week. 

In a letter dated Sept. 25, Tyler J. Bintrim, chief of the Corps’ Regulatory Division North Branch, informed Anthony Cafaro Jr., co-president of the Cafaro Co., of the permit for North Eastwood LLC, a Cafaro subsidiary. 

In July, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued its final certification for the project, which Cafaro Co. says is expected to create 2,200 jobs and generate about $100 million in state and local taxes annually. The permit, however, stipulates that the site be used for the purpose originally proposed by Cafaro — the construction of a $250 million hospital that Mercy Health initially said it would occupy. That project is on hold.

The conditional permit allows North Eastwood to permanently impact 19.59 acres of wetlands and 1,608.5 linear feet of streams. Required mitigation includes the purchase of 30.5 wetland credits and 1,620 stream credits.

The permit also requires the preservation of 17.35 acres of forested Category 2 and Category 3 wetlands with 50-foot buffers; 4.18 acres of Category 2 and Category 3 wetlands as buffers; and 4,111.7 linear feet of Mosquito Creek stream 9,  537.6 linear feet of stream seven, and 388.1 linear feet of stream 2.  

In 2016, the Cafaro Co. announced plans for Enterprise Park, a $367 million campus that would include medical offices, education buildings and an expansion of Mercy Health’s St. Joseph Warren Hospital. 

According to the permit, Cafaro has until Dec. 31, 2022, to complete the authorized work. 

Despite receiving the long-awaited approval, Cafaro Co. representatives were tight-lipped Friday. 

“All of our people involved with the project prefer not to comment further,” said Joe Bell, Cafaro director of corporate communications. 

Last December, Mercy Health, which operates St. Joseph, announced that it had put on hold its plans for operations at Enterprise Park, citing “economic uncertainty” in the wake of General Motors’ announcement that it would cease production of the Chevrolet Cruze at its Lordstown Complex.

“As the hospital has previously stated, Mercy Health has a process that continually reviews potential sites to further expand services that will best meet the changing needs of those we serve, a process that spans months, if not years, between evaluation, development, approval and implementation,” said Jonathon Fauvie, public relations and communications manager for Mercy Health’s Great Lakes Group. “The process has yet to move past the evaluation stage.”  

Pictured: A rendering of Cafaro Co.’s proposed Enterprise Park near the Eastwood Mall.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.