City OKs 2nd MOU Extension for Desmone

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The city’s Board of Control Thursday approved a second 60-day extension of its memorandum of understanding with the Pittsburgh architectural firm it has partnered with to redevelop 20 Federal Place.

The board’s action extends until June 30 Pittsburgh-based Desmone’s period of exclusivity as the city’s designated developer of the downtown building.

The extension was required as the city awaits word on whether it will be awarded approximately $7 million in state brownfield remediation funds it is seeking, Finance Director Kyle Miasek said. The city would put up a $2.1 million match for the funds.

Youngstown’s application for brownfield remediation funds was not among those approved in the first round last month.

“We are hopeful to have that announcement, and it would be a positive announcement for the community. But until that announcement is made, we are in a holding pattern,” Miasek said.

“That’s a key piece that will unlock some of the other sources of the capital stack,” said Doug Rasmussen, CEO and managing partner at Steadfast City Economic & Community Partners. St. Louis-based Steadfast City is providing technical and strategic counsel to the city on redevelopment of 20 Federal and related matters. 

Based on being a potential candidate for the brownfield funds, Desmone is working in its financing tack and “shoring up commitments to potentially be on the receiving end of state historic tax credits and other programs,” Miasek said.

“There’s a lot of interest in the project,” Rasmussen added.

Miasek and Law Director Jeff Limbian conducted the board’s business Thursday. Mayor Jamael Tito Brown was on his way to Columbus for a meeting of the Ohio Power Siting Board, which will consider whether to approve a request by a FirstEnergy subsidiary to string a six-mile long power line through downtown Youngstown. The city and several local stakeholders oppose the proposal.

The board also approved selling a city lot on Federal Plaza East to Valley Foods Inc. and entering into a 40-year lease agreement with the company for use of Douds Alley for $10 per year. Valley Foods is doing a $4.4 million expansion of its downtown plant and warehouse.

And the board approved grants for three companies from its COVID-19 Microenterprise Grant program. BW Enterprise LLC. received $3,300, H Capitol Grill $3,100 and America’s Best Homes and Services $300.

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