Board of Control OKs New Contract with Steadfast for Work on 20 Federal

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The city has expanded its partnership with the company tasked with selling and redeveloping 20 Federal Place with a new contract approved Thursday by the Board of Control. 

Under the contract, the city will pay $25,000 to Steadfast City Economic & Community Partners for technical assistance and strategic counsel related to redevelopment of the former Strouss’ department store building. The contract runs through Dec. 30.

St. Louis-based Steadfast was initially hired under an Appalachian Regional Commission initiative last year to assist the city with the sale and redevelopment of the 332,000-square-foot building. 

Under the new contract, Steadfast will provide its expertise once the city administration and City Council make their choice regarding how they will proceed with the property, said city finance director Kyle Miasek. 

The city received two proposals this summer from potential developers. Warren developer Mark Marvin withdrew his company’s proposal following a July 6 walk-through of the property, leaving the proposal submitted by Desmone, a Pittsburgh architectural firm, as the sole active one. The city’s request for proposals, however, left open the possibility of accepting other submissions submitted following its June 1 deadline.     

The city administration, working with urban planning consultant Hunter Morrison and Economic Action Group, a Youngstown firm that provides economic development and planning services for the city, is “close to potentially having a package” for city council to consider at its Oct. 20 meeting, Miasek said. 

“We’re going to ask them to assist us again with how we roll out the changes because they have expertise and they’ve done this before in different projects in St. Louis,” he continued. The company has “a lot of expertise” in working with older buildings that potentially could qualify for historic tax credits and other federal investment vehicles. 

“If we’re successful with this particular project, we may want to look at doing another one” with Steadfast at other downtown buildings, Miasek added. 

During the meeting, the board approved another contract related to 20 Federal. It contracted with Bristol Environmental Inc., Pittsburgh, for selective demolition within the building to confirm historical elements of the structure. The former department store building went under extensive renovation to serve as the headquarters of the now-defunct Phar-Mor Inc. discount drugstore chain. 

The project will remove some of the interior and exterior walls that were put in place to document what historic elements are in place and to determine how the city might qualify for tax credits in the designated area, Miasek said. 

Also during the meeting, the board approved paying $570,000 to Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. to acquire and rehabilitate houses in the city.

YNDC will rehabilitate at least six houses to sell to low- and moderate-income individuals and families, said Beverly Hosey, director of the community development division of the city’s department of community planning and economic development.

YNDC has six months to sell them after renovations are complete. If that deadline isn’t met, the organization is required to rent them.

“Most of those houses don’t stay on the market long,” she said. “We haven’t run into that yet.” 

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.