Development Projects on City Council’s Agenda

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Several development-related items highlight City Council’s agenda this evening, including the purchase of an old church near the site of the Joseph Co. International project site and the sale of land across the street from St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital to the hospital’s parent company.

Among the items on Council’s agenda is allocating $50,000 to purchase property near the site of Joseph Co.’s manufacturing and research campus.

In particular, the city wants to buy the former Immaculate Conception Church, 811 Oak St., for potential expansion of the campus, said T. Sharon Woodberry, director of community planning and economic development for the city.

The Mahoning County Auditor’s website lists its owner as Christ Centered Church. Prior to that, it was owned by the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown.

“It made sense for us to pick up the property because the church was looking to sell,” she said.

Joseph Company International is ready to move forward with construction of the third building on the project site, Woodberry reported. The company has been involved with a product launch in recent months, but she said she expects to sit down soon with Joseph to discuss the project timeline.

Council also will consider authorizing the city’s Board of Control to sell the site of the former Bel Mar Professional Building, 1005 Belmont Ave., to Mercy Health Youngstown LLC, which operates St. Elizabeth Hospital.

The site was declared a public nuisance under the city’s spot blight ordinance in February 2016. The city bought the site from California investor Behnam David Enayati earlier this year for $355,000.

Mercy will pay to cover the city’s costs to buy the building, including related legal and administrative costs, as well as demolition, cleanup, debris removal and grading of the site, up to $450,000.

The intended purpose of the city is still to be determined, Mercy spokesman Jonathon Fauvie said. Mercy will work with the city on blight removal, he said.

In addition, an ordinance authorizing the city to enter into a development agreement with the Western Reserve Port Authority and Eastern Gateway Community College to support renovation of the former Harshman Building is on the agenda tonight. Under the agreement, the city would provide a $32,000 water grant for the project.

“It helps with cash flow,” said Anthony Trevena, director of economic development for the Northeast Ohio Development and Finance Authority, the port authority’s economic development arm.

The port authority plans to renovate the downtown building’s first floor and basement for use by Eastern Gateway, which plans to lease the space from the port authority, and is working with a potential tenant for the building’s second floor.

The port authority is in the process of finalizing its purchase of the building from NYO Property Group, Trevena said.

The project will create 20 full-time positions and consist of a total investment of about $910,000, according to the council ordinance.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.