Economic Development

Deed Signing Today for Marvin’s Winery Project

WARREN, Ohio – The proposed restaurant and winery in the former Warren Scope center likely won’t be operating until late this year or in early next, developer Mark Marvin said Wednesday.

City officials and Marvin, president of the Downtown Development Group LLC, will participate in a ceremonial deed signing this afternoon to mark the official transfer of Warren’s Scope senior center to Marvin’s company.

Today’s ceremony will be the second major event to announce a downtown development project, one also associated with Marvin. On Tuesday, Downtown Development Group and Sunrise Entertainment outlined their plans to refurbish and reopen the Robins Theatre.

Downtown Development Group plans to develop the Scope property, 220 W. Market St., for use as a restaurant and winery. Transfer of the property took longer than Marvin anticipated.

“We came to an agreement in September and thought this was going to take place by the end of September. We’re about five or six months behind,” Marvin said. “I don’t think it’s going to happen until late 2018, early 2019 at this point.”

For now, Marvin declines to identify the prospective operator. The operator signed a letter of intent, but Marvin didn’t sign it because he didn’t own the building yet. He said he expects to sign it within the next few days.

The project “lends momentum to the economic development of the downtown Warren area and enhancement of lands along the Mahoning River,” Marvin said in a news release announcing today’s ceremony.

“This will be part of an entertainment district that will increase downtown foot traffic and further help local businesses in the downtown square,” he continued.

“It is exciting to see our riverfront property develop into a regional destination and economic driver for job creation in Warren’s historic downtown district,” Mayor Doug Franklin said in the news release.

The developer paid the appraised full value — $216,000 — for the site, Anthony Trevena, director of economic development for the Western Reserve Port Authority, said Wednesday.

Today’s transfer will be the first to take place under an agreement completed last year between the port authority and the city. Under the agreement, the city transferred eight properties to the port authority, which is working with potential developers on projects for the sites. Once a project agreement is reached acceptable to the city, the port authority transfers the property to the developer.

“We have to find a developer with a plan that is acceptable to the city’s goals and plans. The use of the property has to comply with what the city would like to see happen,” Trevena said.

The port authority is working with potential developers on other properties covered under the agreement, but no deals are imminent, he said. Other properties covered include buildings as well as vacant lots.

“We have enjoyed an excellent partnership with the city of Warren as we work through this first project together,” John Moliterno, WRPA executive director, said. “The success of this project provides a blueprint for attracting additional qualified developers to the city of Warren.”

Converting the building for its new use will take some time, particularly since there are almost always surprises in renovation projects, Marvin said.

“It’s just a complete change” from its past use as a senior center, he said. “With the different intent come a lot of changes.”

Pictured at top: Downtown Development Group plans to develop the property at 220 W. Market St., for use as a restaurant and winery.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.