Deadline to Vacate 20 Federal May Be Extended

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Representatives of Steadfast City Economic & Community Partners plan to ask city officials this week to extend the deadline for tenants of 20 Federal Place to vacate the building.

A Steadfast City team met for three days this week with tenants of the city-owned downtown building. Tenants were informed about two weeks ago that they needed to leave the building – some in as soon as 30 days from receipt of the letter – for environmental remediation work to begin.

“Our team is advocating that the city extend the moving timeline to all tenants across the board,” Sarah Scribner, Steadfast City project manager, said Friday.

Steadfast City met with 11 business owners, Scribner said. Two of them are seeking resources independently while others are being directly engaged with the city. Many shared “frustrations and concerns while also providing insight into their long-term goals” for their operations.

In June the city was awarded nearly $7 million in brownfield remediation funds as part of a redevelopment plan for the property. The grant funds must be spent by June 30, 2023.

A week ago, Youngstown Mayor Tito Brown announced Steadfast City would work with building tenants to determine their needs and assist with relocation.

“Each business owner is at different stages of operation now and moving forward — some prefer to downsize, whereas others are looking forward to retirement,” Scribner said. “Some would like to stay downtown, while others are seeking spaces outside of the city; some want windows and foot traffic, yet others request a space that’s under-the-radar; some see this as an opportunity to restructure their business model and go mobile versus housing a brick-and-mortar facility.”

It is uncertain how many might remain in the city versus moving outside its boundaries as the tenants continue to assess their options, Scribner said. For tenants wanting to find a new space, Steadfast has provided “suitable options specific to their individual requests” and the firm continues to receive information about available spaces.

Some business owners outlined specific financial requests surrounding moving and relocation costs, which Steadfast will share with the city, she said. Members of City Council have expressed support for providing funds to assist the businesses being displaced, possibly from its $82.7 million American Rescue Plan allocation.

During the tenant meetings, each received a tentative guideline for redevelopment of the building, the proposed vision for the property and economic development resources offered by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

Steadfast has shared its “comprehensive outline of requests” with city officials and anticipates a meeting this week to discuss extending the deadline for tenants to move out of 20 Federal and to advocate for each business owner’s specific requests. As Steadfast learns more from the state of Ohio, the architectural designs and the construction management process, the company will be able to provide a “firmer date” for the remediation work start date.

Tenants are encouraged to reach out, and further in-person meetings will follow as needed, she said.

“… Youngstown is home to incredibly passionate business owners and community members that wish to see the city flourish,” Scribner said. “It is our hope that they left our discussions knowing they have a dedicated team keeping their individualized interests at heart that will serve as their advocates during this transition process.” 

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.