Cafaro Co. Committed to Enterprise Park Despite Mercy ‘Hold’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Cafaro Co. will move forward on its Enterprise Park project, regardless of whether Mercy Health-Youngstown decides to site a new hospital there.

Mercy Health issued a statement this morning that it had put on hold plans for a proposed expansion of St. Joseph Warren Hospital, citing “economic uncertainty” in the wake of the potential closing of the General Motors Lordstown Complex next year.

“The recent news of GM Lordstown has shaken our community, and as an organization, our thoughts are with those families directly working for General Motors and those working for GM suppliers,” said Jonathon Fauvie, public relations manager for Mercy Health’s Youngstown and Lorain regions.

“With this economic uncertainty, it has been decided that a hold be placed on the possibility of a new facility at Enterprise Park, including one in the size and scope of a new hospital,” he added.

Niles-based Cafaro Co. has proposed a $367 million campus on a 106.7-acre site in Howland adjacent to its Eastwood Mall Complex. In addition to the proposed hospital, it would include a medical education building, a senior and memory care residential center, two general office buildings, a medical office building and a residential complex.

Mercy began reviewing sites for potential expansion of services in Trumbull County several months ago, Fauvie said. Today’s statement followed a media report that Mercy employees were informed last week about the Enterprise Park decision, which Fauvie also confirmed today.

“We’ve always said Enterprise Park is a very flexible kind of development,” said Joe Bell, Cafaro director of corporate communications. “It’s available for any type of business, so it’s conceivable that any other type of company, be it health care or some other, would be a perfect fit there.”

That Mercy or any of the other prospective tenants or partners might be leery following GM’s announcement is natural, he added. That said, much will be clarified over the next several months concerning GM and other employers.

“Conceivably, the news could be quite good,” he continued.

Mercy also made it “very clear,” Bell said, that they need to improve their delivery of services in Trumbull County, adding that he is confident that the health-care system would move forward with its project.

Cafaro still plans to break ground by mid-2019 on infrastructure work at the site that needs to take place before any buildings are constructed, though the developer has given itself “no hard deadlines” on the project, he said.

The company also needs to secure approvals and permits. The Oho Environmental Protection Agency hosted a public hearing Dec. 3 for a Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 Individual permit.

During the process, “any and all” entities that have expressed interest in the project will have time to assess the situation, Bell said.

“We are firmly committed to developing Enterprise Park. Our preference would be to go forward with Mercy Health, but it certainly can be with any number of businesses,” he said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.