Consultant Predicts Success for 20 Federal Place Tax Credit

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – An informal consultant to the 20 Federal Place project predicted the city would be successful on its next application for Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit funding.

The building rehabilitation project, which has been discussed for years and the city launched after being awarded a $6.96 million brownfield remediation grant, was not among the projects awarded funds during the most recent round of the historic preservation program, which was announced last month.

On June 29, state officials announced tax credit awards totaling $50.56 million for 38 historic preservation projects.

The project, for which officials sought $10 million, also was not funded during the round announced in December. The tax credit program is administered by the Ohio Department of Development.

“Our understanding is the total allocation of HTCs available this round ended up being less than anticipated,” said Doug Rasmussen, CEO and managing partner of Steadfast City Economic & Community Partners, St. Louis, which is working with the city on 20 Federal. The remediation work funded by the brownfield grant is “going well” and “on track for completion,” he added.

The 20 Federal application scored third highest in the pool of applicants but fell into the large project category, which is the most competitive and receives the most applications, said Jim Ambrose, founder of Tipping Point Development in Youngstown.

Until last year, when he left to launch Tipping Point, Ambrose was director of business development for Desmone, a Pittsburgh architectural firm that has been working with the city on 20 Federal. He now is serving as an unpaid informal consultant on the project.

“Of the total dollar amount they give per round, only a portion of those funds go to large projects, so it usually means only two get awarded,” Ambrose said.

State officials have indicated that if the city reapplies for the funds in September, there is a “very high, strong likelihood” it would be awarded. Additionally, the project’s score likely would rise given that the building is vacant.

“They favor buildings that are vacant for over a year, so now that that time has passed, as the tenants have left, the project will score better in that category, thereby raising its score,” Ambrose said.  

There also is a new opportunity to reapply for the state transformational mixed-use development tax credit in September.

“I’m going to try to get involved formally to help the city get those funding sources, because with today’s interest rates and the way that the lending markets are, you almost have to have those secured before the private capital comes in,” he said. “The rules of the game have changed since we started this.”

The 20 Federal Place project “scored very well, and we are encouraged by the result and thus are optimistically reapplying in the fall round of HTCs,” as well as the TMUD credits, Rasmussen said.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.