City to Hear from 20 Federal Consultant, Potential Developer

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Members of City Council will hear from and provide feedback Thursday to the consultant the city is working with on a proposed redevelopment of 20 Federal Place and the prospective redeveloper of the building.

Representatives of Steadfast City Economic & Community Partners, St. Louis, and Desmone, a Pittsburgh architectural firm that responded to the city’s request for proposals for the building, are expected to participate virtually in a meeting of council’s finance committee, said Doug Rasmussen, Steadfast CEO and managing partner. 

The city engaged Steadfast last year to prepare a market-driven strategy to redevelop the property using funds from an Appalachian Regional Commission grant program. Desmone responded this summer to the RFP issued by Steadfast and the city in an effort to find someone to buy and redevelop the building.  

“This is gearing up for concluding our RFP process, and then looking toward the future of some council action of some kind to move this project to the next step,” Rasmussen said. 

The 20 Federal Place discussion will take place as part of a broader conversation at the meeting about how the city will use the $82.7 million the city is receiving in American Rescue Plan funds. 

One of the potential uses for the funds is spending $3 million for needed upgrades to the building, including asbestos removal and downsizing the available space to market needs, Fifth Ward Councilwoman Lauren McNally said. She is looking at spending about $500,000 to cover relocation costs for building tenants who will not be able to remain in the building while work is underway.   

The city plans to seek historic renovation grant funds to reimburse it for the $3 million in improvements, but the work needs to be done regardless, said McNally, chairwoman of the finance committee. 

After Thursday’s finance committee meeting, the next step would be a scheduled Nov. 29 meeting of the committee and, potentially, consideration by council members of a 60-day period of exclusivity for Desmone to conduct additional due diligence, Rasmussen said.

McNally said she is impressed so far with the concept Desmone proposed for 20 Federal Place. The city’s proposed investment is reasonable and will better position the city to unload the building, which is losing up to $1.5 million each year, she added.   

“We will have remodeled assets and resized the building for what the market needs,” she said. The city will retain ownership of the building, so even if it doesn’t move forward with Desmone, the building will be more marketable.  

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