Economic Development

Chipotle, Mercy Health Moving into Enclave at YSU

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The newest phase of development at Youngstown State University is bringing two easily recognizable names to campus: Chipotle and Mercy Health.

The two will take the spaces in the retail portion of The Enclave student housing development at the corner of Wick and Lincoln avenues. Construction is still ongoing and the restaurant and urgent care clinic are expected to open in March, said LRC Realty President Frank Licata at the announcement Friday afternoon. The student apartments at The Enclave opened in August.

“Retail was always part of the vision we had for this project. We think it complements the housing and it provides an amenity not only for the kids who live here but also the downtown community and faculty,” he said.

A native of the Mahoning Valley and graduate of YSU, Licata’s company is based in Akron. Seeing the development at the university since he left, he said, is exciting for both himself and students.

“We’re progressing as a university and having these kinds of amenities puts us in a position to be successful,” he said. “Part of the retail thinking in projects like this is often service-driven because that’s what students need the most. They’re here away from home. They need a good place to grab a quick meal. When they’re sick they need the convenience of medical care.”

Students were more vocal about the announcement of the new Chipotle – about 150 or so showed up to take advantage of the free meals handed out after the press conference – but university officials pointed to Mercy Health’s clinic at The Enclave as having a larger long-term impact.

Last school year, the student body approved a $34 health-care fee to help expand medical services on campus. Beyond the current wellness and illness care available at the clinic in Kilcawley Center, also operated by Mercy, the new urgent care site will include behavioral health-care and walk-in access for the community around YSU.

“A component of that health fee allows us to have eight hours a week of psychiatric services. That’s huge. The wait time for most folks to see a psychiatrist is six to eight months,” said Eddie Howard, YSU’s vice president of student affairs. “We’ve seen for the past two years an increase in our student-health center. Because of the overwhelming response from students and the increase of students on campus, the decision was made to expand it.”

Although St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital is just a few blocks away, Mercy Health-Youngstown President Dr. John Luellen noted that having an urgent care clinic on campus provides a different vehicle for service than the hospital.

“Access in and of itself isn’t what people need. People need access to the right level of service at the right time for the problem they’re having,” he said. “Emergency departments are great assets to the community, especially with our Level I trauma center, but not everybody needs that care for routine problems.”

In addition, having urgent care on campus in a highly visible area should bring more students into the center, he said, meaning a more generally healthy student body and faculty.

“If you don’t have it in front of them, they aren’t going to think about it. And if they do, they aren’t going to think about preventative care. They think about wellness care and illness services,” Luellen said. “Being able to put this at the center of a campus is critically important and to have that student buy-in is rather unprecedented.”

The development is just the latest to provide students amenities on and around Youngstown State’s campus, said President Jim Tressel. Three apartment buildings for students – The Enclave, as well as two buildings at the University Edge complex – have been built during his tenure, as has the new Barnes & Noble university bookstore. New restaurants have come to Lincoln Avenue and downtown to complement the new DoubleTree by Hilton Youngstown Downtown hotel and the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheater under construction.

“That told us they feel like they’re here a lot, spending more time here,” he said of the students’ approval of the health fee. “It’s one more step in the proof that we’re progressing into a comprehensive all-week, all-day place. It’s all coming together, all the things we’ve been dreaming about.”

Pictured: Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel helped Pete the Penguin reveal the two tenants at The Enclave’s retail building Friday afternoon.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.