Youngstown, Ohio

Common Wealth Buys Parcel for Future Commercial, Residential Development

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Common Wealth Inc. is seeking additional funding to support efforts to develop combined commercial and residential space on property it owns on the North Side, a representative of the not-for-profit corporation said.

At its meeting Wednesday, the city’s Board of Control approved the sale of another parcel, 41 Baldwin St., to Common Wealth for $65. The nonprofit already owns 19, 25, 29, 33 and 37 Baldwin, contiguous properties to the east, as well as 56 and 66 Baldwin on the other side of the street.

In 2006 and 2007, Common Wealth – which focuses on community development efforts in Youngstown – received funding to build new houses but halted those efforts after the housing market “went south,” Jim Converse, community economic development director, said. 

“We finally got them sold so now we’re trying to do additional housing,” he said. Common Wealth’s plans now are to develop four-row houses on Baldwin, with commercial storefront space on the ground floor and living space.

A timetable for the project will depend on how soon Common Wealth can secure additional funds. It is awaiting a response from the city regarding an application it made for America Rescue Plan funds to support the project, he said. The corporation also likely will apply for affordable housing funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Steve Biroschak, city zoning analyst and land bank administrator, said the project is a good use for the property because of its proximity to Wick Park and Wick Avenue, and Youngstown State University’s expansion.

“That neighborhood has some potential,” he said.

Common Wealth already operates a kitchen incubator and café on Elm Street nearby, where there also is an art museum and other small businesses. “We’re trying to make it into a cluster neighborhood of small shops and businesses,” Converse said. 

Additionally, the board approved a $75,000 contract with urban planning consultant Hunter Morrison, who has been working for the city the past couple of years. His work with the city includes involvement in efforts to sell and redevelop 20 Federal Place.

The contract, which calls for Morrison to work on “matters pertaining to the planning and development of the city and its surrounding communities, runs through Dec. 31.     

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