Board of Control OKs $100K for Foster Theater Renovation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A year from now, renovation of the former Foster Theater on the South Side could be complete and the building ready for occupancy, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation’s executive director said Thursday.

More than half of the estimated $2.5 million needed for the renovation project has been raised, Ian Beniston said. 

During its meeting Thursday morning, the city’s Board of Control approved entering into a professional services agreement with YNDC to provide an additional $100,000 for renovation of the former adult theater, which YNDC bought about two years ago.

Councilwoman Anita Davis, 6th Ward, requested the $100,000 out of her ward’s $2 million allocation of American Rescue Plan funds. City Council approved Davis’ request in June.

The project previously received another $100,000 from the ARP allocation for the 5th Ward, which the Glenwood Avenue building was in before city ward lines were redrawn.

“This project adds to the viability that is occurring along the Glenwood corridor,” Nikki Posterli, chief of staff to Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and director of the city’s department of community planning and economic development, said. “We are in full support of bringing blighted property back to productive use.”

Plans for the former Foster Theater building in Youngstown.

YNDC’s plans include renovating the property to include two commercial units and four apartments that will be available to residents at or below 80% of the area’s median income, according to city documents.

Strollo Architects, Youngstown, completed the architectural and engineering work, and the project has been put out to bid, with the intent of beginning work in January under the “ideal scenario,” Beniston said. 

“We’re looking at about seven months, eight months start to finish, from groundbreaking to having a turnkey facility once we’re able to get it started,” he said.

YNDC has applied for two major grants, including one from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh’s affordable housing program that was submitted a month ago and which Beniston said he expects to hear about during the fourth quarter of this year.  

“If those work out successfully, we’ll be in a position to begin in early ’24,” he said. If YNDC isn’t successful in receiving one or both of those grants, the organization will look at other grants or financing the balance.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.