City OKs 75% Tax Abatement for Chill-Can Plant

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Youngstown Board of Control voted Thursday to approve an enterprise zone agreement with M.J. Joseph Development Corp. to assist with development of the company’s $20 million East Side campus.

The agreement provides a 75% abatement on real estate improvements at the site, where the company is constructing a nine-building campus. There the company will manufacture and develop its self-chilling can technology as well as artificial intelligence for the food and beverage industry.

The board also approved transferring several pieces of property to Joseph for the campus.

Finalizing the transfers took longer than expected because the owners were deceased and legal issues needed to be addressed before the transfers could take place, said T. Sharon Woodberry, the city’s director of community planning and economic development.

Work on the site is progressing, and CEO Mitchell Joseph expects to begin hiring in the first quarter of 2018, Woodberry reported. “I would imagine that’s going to determine partially when he’s going to be able to start operations there,” she added.

During the meeting, the final regularly one before Mayor John McNally’s term ends Dec. 31, the board addressed several items related to the amphitheater and riverfront park project, a settlement with litigants in a suit over the city’s use of water and wastewater grants and with Youngstown Thermal, aesthetic improvements along South Avenue and a proposed new restaurant downtown.

McNally and law director Martin Hume – the board’s third member, finance director David Bozanich was absent – approved entering into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to accept $4 million for the amphitheater park fund. HUD approved the Section 108 loan in October.

In addition, the board approved entering into an amendment agreement with JAC Management for management of the Covelli Centre and the amphitheater through Dec. 31, 2022.

The board voted to approve the $1.45 million settlement with plaintiffs led by former Boardman Township Trustee, Kathy Miller, who represent Youngstown water customers in a suit contesting the city’s use of water and wastewater grants to fund economic development projects. The lawsuit contended that the grants represent an “improper expenditure” of water department funds.

The agreement authorizes credits totaling $1.45 million to water customers inside and outside the city and payment of reasonable attorneys fees, court costs and litigation expenses from the water budget. The settlement, which concedes no admission of liability by either party, also provides that any future water grants will be subject to a written policy and procedure the parties agree to.

A settlement with Youngstown Thermal settles a dispute with the city dating back to 2014. Under the terms of the agreement, the city will forgive $63,0005.72 in debt and the water department issuing a $46,994.54 credit to Youngstown Thermal.

Also, the board approved contracts totaling $26,000 with Municipal Action Corp. Ltd. for work including landscaping and installation of a rain garden, trees and other beautification projects along South Avenue.

A “Welcome to the South Avenue Corridor” sign is already installed at one of the sites, 721 South Ave., and another is being installed near the Rite Aid at South and East Midlothian Boulevard, said Green Youngstown coordinator Jennifer Jones.

In other business, the city entered into a purchase agreement with Winner Group Holdings Ltd. for the purchase of 208 W. Front St., the former St. Vincent de Paul feeding site, which plans to open a restaurant at the site. Winner is purchasing the site for $79,000. The city also entered into a development agreement with Winner.

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