Construction to Start Soon on YSU Enclave

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Construction of a new student housing project near Youngstown State University should get under way in a few weeks, an official with the developer said Tuesday.

The Enclave, a 166-bed apartment building and retail complex, is the latest project to serve YSU’s growing residential population. “We would expect to start construction sometime at the end of June or early July,” said Gary O’Nesti, special projects director with LRC Realty, Akron.

O’Nesti shared details of the 117,000-square-foot project at Tuesday’s meeting of the city’s Design Review Committee.

The new apartments would be built on a Wick Avenue site between Lincoln and Rayen avenues that would be owned by YSU and leased on a long-term basis to LRC. The firm is in the process of acquiring the Campus Book and Supply property, which also would be part of the project.

O’Nesti could not provide an estimated cost for the project. “Bids are just about done,” he said.

Since the project is being built on land owned by YSU, it is being reviewed at the state level and didn’t require approval by the design review committee. O’Nesti made the presentation to the members of the city’s downtown review panel at the request of Mayor John McNally and YSU President Jim Tressel.

Principals with LRC, including its founder, Larry Levy, and president, Frank Licata, are from the Youngstown area and are encouraged by the progress being made locally, O’Nesti said.

Permits for the project are being secured, he reported. LRD also has consulted with the city, YSU and businesses along the Wick Avenue corridor to attempt to keep the materials used for the project visually consistent with establishments on the corridor.

The top four levels of the five-story project will be dedicated to student apartments, while the ground floor will feature retail space and administrative offices, O’Nesti said. LRC is talking to several different restaurants and specialty retail establishments regarding the space, he told the committee.

“It’s a long, convoluted process of discussions,” he remarked. “It takes a significant amount of time to do that but it’s really part of the process. It’s probably the most time-consuming portion.”

A 97-space parking lot will serve the retailers and restaurants on the first floor, he said. Parking for the student residents primarily will be provided by YSU.

The plans discussed Tuesday could represent the first phase of the project, O’Nesti acknowledged. “There is a possibility to do some additional housing on this site,” he said. “We haven’t gotten to that point yet. That possibility is here.”

Construction should take about a year, O’Nesti said. “We certainly need to be open for fall enrollment in 2017.”

John DeFrance, architect with Olsavsky-Jaminet Architects, Youngstown, and a member of the committee, praised the integration of the commercial space into the project and the “sensitivity to continuing the material” that YSU has established on the corridor.

“The continuation of a residential link does help to connect the downtown metropolitan area with the university. I think it’s great,” DeFrance said.

Pictured: Rendering of The Enclave presented to the city’s Design Review Committee.

Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.