Growth Report 2017: WRPA Finances Valley Projects Valued at $60M

Editor’s Note: The following story is from Growth Report 2017, published by The Business Journal.

By Anthony Trevena, WRPA director of Development

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Western Reserve Port Authority built a strong new team in 2015 and that paid off in 2016. Four projects closed last  year with more than $60 million in new construction projects.

The port authority’s unique position as a government unit enables it to provide financing to larger scale projects. Often our financing tools reduce construction costs significantly for the developer.

For example, EDM Management constructed a state-of-the-art assisted living facility in Poland, the Inn at Poland Way. Through port authority assistance, construction costs were reduced by nearly 10%.

The story was the same for Hallmark Inc. for its multi-unit student housing project in downtown Youngstown, the University Edge. Between The Inn at Poland Way and the University Edge, the port authority has provided more than 200 residential units to serve the spectrum of lifestyle needs.

The Northeast Ohio Development and Finance Authority, a division of the port authority, worked with its sister division, the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, to negotiate and complete a hangar sale and land-lease with the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics. This collaboration made it possible for the tenant to complete a $1.6 million expansion to the front side of Hangar 3 at the airport.

The PIA expansion consists of classrooms, shop space and offices, with bond financing provided by the finance and development agency. The improvements have already had a positive effect on institute’s recruiting.

The regional airport continues to grow and improve. More than $4 million in improvements to the passenger terminal were completed. The passenger concourse area is updated with crisp new color schemes and a high-efficiency lighting design. It is a pleasure to stand by at the airport’s gates now. Many more improvements were made behind the scenes, including upgrades to the heating and electric systems, roof repairs and improvements to the runway.

The port authority also manages projects that build community capacity. They include coordination of the Mahoning River Mayors Association, helping to coordinate a unified voice from the Mahoning Valley to Columbus and Washington, D.C. ,on the needs of the cities, particularly managing abandoned industrial sites and rebuilding infrastructure.

We also manage Mahoning County’s enterprise zone tax abatement program, which this year assisted in winning the Nordson Xaloy plant consolidation project in Austintown. Nordson, a worldwide manufacturing company, will retain more than 100 jobs in our Valley and create another 140.

In addition, the port manages the Castlo Industrial Park, a 120-acre park with Class 1 rail access in Struthers.

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