Lack of Highway Access Hampers City TJX Site

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Lack of highway access likely will work against the 315-acre site Youngstown is offering to lure a $160 million distribution center, a Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber official said today.

This morning, the city sent its letter to Mark Walker, vice president of real estate for HomeGoods, a subsidiary of TJX Companies Inc., outlining the city’s incentive package to lure the 1.2-million-square-foot warehouse. 

The proposed site is located at the northern edge of the city’s border with Trumbull County and includes the Lansdowne Airport property.

The Regional Chamber submitted the property to TJX at the beginning of its search process in early 2016 as well as on subsequent occasions during the process, said Sarah Boyarko, senior vice president for economic development for the chamber.

The feedback the chamber received, which it passed along to the city, was the lack of good highway access to the city led TJX to pass on the property, she said. “It is a nice piece of property, just maybe not an ideal use for this opportunity,” she remarked.  

The incentives being offered in the city’s letter include a $5 million grant for water and wastewater improvements, and either a 10-year, 75% real property tax abatement or establishment of a Tax Increment Financing District that diverts tax payments toward the financing of eligible infrastructure improvements, valued at $5 million.

The letter, signed by Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, all seven members of City Council, Council President DeMaine Kitchen and key city officials, also pledges “full cooperation” from all levels of city government to make the project a success.

Once completed, the distribution center is expected to employ more than 1,000 workers with a payroll of more than $27 million. Last weekend, at a rally to show village support for the project, Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill said employment at the center could reach 1,400.

As of Wednesday, Hill said he had not heard from the company regarding a potential site in the village. TJX initially proposed siting the warehouse on 290 acres adjacent to the Ohio Turnpike, but halted an application to rezone seven parcels that are part of the site when several village residents objected to the rezoning.

The company then announced it would reevaluate its options for the distribution center, and is believed to be looking at several locations in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys, including one in East Lackawannock Township, Pa.

Boyarko said this morning she also had not heard anything new from the company.

HomeGoods spokeswoman Erika Tower said this morning the company didn’t have anything to add “at this time” regarding its search.   

Pictured: The proposed TJX site in Youngstown.

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