Landino Anticipates Spring Start for $2.5M Project

SHARON, Pa. — Local developer Jim Landino says he expects to move forward on a mixed-use redevelopment of the former Carine & Co. warehouse in early spring 2022, though on a smaller scale than he envisioned earlier. 

The project received a boost Monday when Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Capital Assistance program awarded $500,000 for the project, at 297 Shenango Ave. The grant was among three totaling $1.7 million for Mercer County projects. 

That was in addition to $400,000 in tax credit funding the commonwealth awarded to Landino’s company, JCL Development, for the project in April, “which really gives us enough capital now to push the project forward,” Landino said. 

JCL, which has acquired and redeveloped several downtown Sharon properties, is proposing a $2.5 million renovation of the 47,000-square-foot building, which is adjacent to the Penn State University Shenango Campus, for a mix of commercial and residential tenants. 

Landino had earlier estimated a cost of more than $5 million for the project, which would have included a Penn State Shenango event center, gym and apartments for students. Penn State Shenango backed out of participating following recent enrollment declines, Landino said.

“They’re unable to sign a lease right now with the shrinking enrollment so we won’t be building out any facilities for Penn State inside the building now,” he said. 

Though not directly participating in the project, Penn State Shenango provided a letter of support for the grant, said Bill Dungee, director of business and finance at the campus. 

“The campus supports local housing initiatives for our increasing out-of-state populations, as our primary concern is to secure local opportunities for these students,” Brooke Doerfler, campus spokesperson, said in response to a request for comment. “We look forward to the development of any additional facilities as these plans evolve. We will continue to work with the city of Sharon and local communities to support these greater initiatives.”  

As Landino works to line up financing for the project, he is eyeing a spring 2022 construction start. 

“Really, it’s just going to be how fast we can bolt the rest of the financing together,” he said. “We’re already in the works on that, so I really do think this is a 95% done deal.”

The grant will not only expand the foot traffic needed to sustain downtown Sharon’s developing commercial base, but also “help create the campus community long envisioned by Penn State Shenango,” state Rep. Mark Longietti, D-7 Hermitage, said in the news release announcing the grant. 

Plans call for developing about 25,000 square feet of the building as apartments, mainly two-bedroom units, with the rest being developed as commercial space, Landino said. 

He sees young professionals or other people who want to live downtown as the target market for the apartments. The units also will be open for lease by Penn State Shenango students, even though they are not the specific target market.  

“Hopefully, there’ll be students,” Landino said.   

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.