Design Review Committee Approves $60K in Façade Grants

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Exterior improvements at a multitenant building on East Federal Street already is underway, one of three projects funded by the latest round of façade grants awarded by the city.

JPS Ventures LLC was awarded one of three $20,000 grants from the city’s facade renovation program at the city’s design review committee meeting Tuesday morning. The grant will fund paving of the parking lot at 362 E. Federal St., removal of all overgrown trees on the property and trimming of two additional trees, and repairs to the front entrance ramp and masonry. Total cost of the work is $44,660.

The project also includes installation of a garden bed island to “bring a little bit of life and pop to this corner as so many of our neighbors have done,” Sam Orr, operations director at JPS Ventures, said. Work on the improvements started within hours of the design review committee meeting.

“We were just waiting for final approval. We’re actually doing some pruning today,” Orr said. We’ve got guys scheduled to start taking trees down on the side of the building hopefully tomorrow.”

The 44,500-square-foot building is where Zoetic Global – a company specializing in delivering energy, water and food technologies that hired former U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan this spring as its chief global business development officer – announced plans to site a refrigerant plant this year.

Zoetic has leased 28,000 square feet of the building and has started moving equipment into the plant. “The last I heard, they will be producing in October,” he said.

The other two $20,000 grants were approved for OG Golf LLC, 3114 South Ave., and Oak Hill Collaborative, 507 Oak Hill Ave.

The request from OG Golf, which is opening an indoor golf center and bar/grill, was deferred from last month’s meeting. The committee approved the request after modifications to the site plan that included realignment of the planned parking at the site and reorientation of the traffic flow clockwise around the building using the backside of the property as an entrance. Total cost of the project is $150,000.

The third $20,000 grant will help fund exterior improvements totaling $44,870 at Oak Hill Collaborative. The improvements will include refreshing cracking paint, repairing exterior concrete restraining walls, repairing and sealing the parking lot, refinishing the front entrance door, installing new exterior lighting, installing security cameras, creating an outdoor community space and landscaping.  

The exterior improvements grants come from a program the city establishing using part of its $82.7 million American Rescue Plan allocation.

The committee deferred action on a request by Philadelphia Sign for awnings at the former Huntington National Bank building, 26 Market St. Philadelphia Sign has sought permission for an illuminated double-faced Huntington sign on the building and seven green shed-style fabric awnings over windows. 

Huntington Bank moved its downtown office from the building in 2021 to the Stambaugh Building, but bank officials have said the plan was to move back into the Market Street building. There was no indication at the meeting when Huntington might relocate, and efforts to reach officials form the bank were unsuccessful.

Now owned by 22 Market Street Ohio LLC, a New York development firm, the building was awarded a $1.2 million historic preservation tax credit last year. The building owner plans to retain the bottom four floors of the building as commercial space and convert the upper floors for apartments.

Committee members questioned whether the awnings might conflict with the tax credit award and voted to defer the request until the building’s owners could be contacted for clarification.

Pictured at top: Zoetic Global has leased 28,000 square feet of the building at 362 E. Federal St.

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