City Considers 20 Federal MOU, $2M for Dorian Books Renovation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Members of City Council will consider entering into an agreement with the proposed developer of 20 Federal Place, as well as a $2 million float loan to assist with the redevelopment of the former Dorian Books building on the North Side. 

Council will take up those items among others Monday during a meeting of its finance committee and potentially vote on them at its Dec. 1 meeting. Other economic development items include a waiver of water tap-in fees for Penguin City Brewing Co. and the transfer of a piece of property to Valley Foods to support its expansion project. 

The legislation authorizes the city’s board of control to enter into a memorandum of understanding with Desmone, a Pittsburgh-based architectural firm, and enter into 60-day extensions of time as necessary with the company. It follows last week’s presentation to members of City Council by representatives of Desmone and Steadfast City Economic & Community Partners of St Louis, the consultant the city is working with on 20 Federal Place.

During the Nov. 18 finance committee meeting, Desmone outlined a proposal for the former Strouss building at 20 W. Federal St. that includes a rooftop restaurant and observation deck, underground parking, apartments and an atrium extending from ground level to the top of the building.  

Another piece legislation under consideration is to negotiate and enter into a development agreement with 802 Elm Development LLC. The developer is proposing to spend $2.6 million to establish a food market on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors of the former Dorian Books building at 802 Elm St., near Youngstown State University’s Cafaro House and Lyden House dormitories. 

The building at 802 Elm Street formerly housed a bookstore. It was built in 1925.

If approved, the legislation would provide the developer a $2 million float loan for up to a year at a 0.25% interest rate.

According to public records, the building is owned by Eggbert Properties LLC of Chagrin Falls. It is listed for sale at $369,000.

The project would be “a great addition to that area,” said First Ward Councilman Julius Oliver. “Anytime we can put a building or a business back in use in Youngstown, I’m all for it.”

Penguin City is seeking a waiver of water tap-in fees for its building at 460 E. Federal St. Penguin City purchased the building a year ago and is investing more than $2 million to establish the warehouse space as the home base for its brewery operations. The company also looks to open an event center, restaurant and taproom, creating nine full-time and four part-time jobs.   

Electrical and sprinkler systems are installed and trenches are being dug for the brewing tanks, co-owner and brewer Richard Bernacki said Tuesday. Brewing tanks are supposed to be unloaded off a ship at the Los Angeles port today and hopefully will be loaded on a truck for arrival in about a week.

“It’s realistic to think I can possibly start brewing at the end of December or early January,” he said. Target date for opening the taproom is March 1.  

Council members also will consider transferring just over a quarter of an acre of property on East Federal Street to Valley Foods Inc., which is adding 14,000 square feet to its manufacturing plant near downtown.

The expansion will add 35 jobs, bringing total employment at the plant to 62, according to JobsOhio, which approved a $1.3 million loan earlier this month for the $4.4 million project. 

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.