City Weighs New Contracts with Eric Ryan’s JAC

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – City Council will vote on two contracts this week with Eric Ryan’s JAC Management that would extend and expand its agreements to cover the new amphitheater Youngstown is developing near downtown.

Youngstown has contracts in place with JAC, which manages the Covelli Centre

Also, council will consider a resolution in support of the city’s application for a $4 million Section 108 loan to help pay for development of the amphitheater and riverfront park.

JAC is owned by Ryan, who serves as the executive director of Covelli Centre. The company has managed the arena under contract with the city since fall 2007. It assumed the food and beverage contract in 2012.

Among the items council will consider at its final meeting Wednesday before summer recess are authorizing the city Board of Control to enter into separate contracts for operational and food service management of the Covelli Centre and the amphitheater. The latter is expected to open next year.

“The administration has a good deal of confidence in JAC Management and Eric Ryan and the staff to manage both facilities and to provide the food service and concessions work for both facilities,” Mayor John McNally said. “We believe council has that high degree of confidence in Eric and his company as well.”

McNally, who is offering the JAC legislation, cited good relationships with city staff in terms of financial reporting as well as with City Council.

In addition, Ryan has worked with the city on aspects of the amphitheater project, which is expected to become a companion to the Covelli Centre. “We’re confident he will make it a successful facility just as the Covelli Centre is,” McNally said.

The contracts would begin Jan. 1, 2018, and run through Dec. 31, 2022. The city and JAC are exchanging proposed contract language.

“We’re very close on both of them,” McNally said. The food and beverage agreement might be finalized as early as Wednesday, he said.

Under its agreement with the city, JAC receives $99,200 annually, plus incentives based on sums that exceed $100,000 in arena operating income, to operate the Covelli Centre. Under the concession management contract, the city pays JAC fees that range from 3% to 6% of gross monthly receipts from food and beverage operations.

JAC’s most recent concessions contract expired Dec. 31, and the city has operated month-to-month since, said Anthony Donofrio, deputy law director. Once the new contracts are approved, they will run concurrently, he said.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requested that council adopt a resolution in support of the loan application, McNally said. Youngstown would borrow the $4 million and repay it from future Community Development Block grant allocations.

President Donald Trump has proposed scrapping the CDBG program in the budget outline he has proposed, but Democratic and Republican lawmakers have raised concerns about his proposal, some to calling it “dead on arrival.”

McNally says he takes the HUD request for council support as improving the likelihood the application will be granted. “It’s certainly something that should be looked at as a positive,” he said.

In addition to the park/amphitheater items, City Council will take up an ordinance authorizing the Board of Control to enter into an enterprise zone agreement with Youngstown Campus Associates LLC, an affiliate of LRC Realty of Akron.

LRC plans to begin work next month on its $16 million student-housing complex near Youngstown State University.

The agreement proposes a 10-year, 75% abatement of real property taxes for the proposed retail component of the project on Lincoln Avenue, a $2.23 million investment, according to the legislation. The project is expected to create 20 full-time and 12 part-time jobs within two years.

Construction on the retail component should begin in March, Gary O’Nesti, special projects director with LRC Realty, told the Western Reserve Port Authority Board of Directors last month. The housing component is slated for completion in time for the start of fall semester 2018 classes at YSU.

Pictured: Eric Ryan, owner ofJAC Management and executive director of Covelli Centre.

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