Marvin Withdraws Proposal to Redevelop 20 Federal Place

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Downtown Development Group is no longer interested in redeveloping 20 Federal Place.

The company, which has redeveloped several buildings in downtown Warren, also likely will not bid on the Chase Building when it goes up for auction next month, though its president did not rule out working with a potential successful bidder to develop the property.

Mark Marvin, president of Downtown Development Group, said Monday his company informed the city of its decision, effective July 8, to withdraw the response it submitted to the city’s request for proposals to acquire and redevelop the downtown Youngstown landmark.

The decision followed a July 6 follow-up walk-through of the property, Marvin said. His company informed both Youngstown officials and Steadfast City Economic & Community Partners, the St. Louis consulting firm working with the city, of its decision to withdraw. It also responded to a question from Steadfast about the reasoning behind the decision.

“After further due diligence, the building did not fit into [Downtown Development Group’s] future portfolio,” Doug Rasmussen, president and CEO of Steadfast City, said Monday afternoon. In March, the consultant outlined plans for a proposed $34 million redevelopment of the seven story, 332,000-square-foot building, a month before the city released the request for proposals for the property.

Marvin declined to provide specifics behind the decision to withdraw the proposal, citing a desire not to “influence any potential candidates” during the city and Steadfast City’s due diligence process, or to offer details of the proposal his company submitted.

“It was a good proposal,” he said.

Downtown Development Group was the sole respondent to the request for proposals for 20 Federal Place by the June 1 deadline. The city’s consultant permitted Desmone, a Pittsburgh-based architectural firm, to submit a proposal two weeks later after the company had requested additional time.

Steadfast City is continuing to evaluate the Desmone proposal, which now is the only one the city has for the building. It plans to conduct interviews with potential developers in July and August, with presentations to city council and selection of a redeveloper scheduled for next month as well. The execution of a redevelopment agreement is scheduled for October.

Marvin also said Monday that he was unlikely to submit a bid for the Chase Tower, 6 Federal Plaza West, when it goes up for auction again Aug. 9.

An unidentified investment group in Miami bid a reported $1.15 million for the 135,300-square-foot downtown building, owned by the Cleveland-based Frangos Group, during a previous auction held in April.

The prospective buyer ultimately did not move forward on the sale, according to Lou Frangos, chairman of the Frangos Group.

Marvin acknowledged Monday he had been asked by a potential bidder to “review” the building. He acknowledged he would consider bidding for the property “if the situation is appropriate,” but potentially would partner with the bidder he was acquainted with to develop the property, should that bidder be the successful one.

Additionally, he said he was not looking at any other properties in downtown Youngstown at the moment. Though he had expressed dismay at the city’s decision to permit potential developers to submit proposals past the June 1 deadline last month, he said his treatment had not soured him on dealing with the city.

“Once certain inconsistencies were pointed out, the city responded immediately and with clarity in order to resolve our questions and concerns,” he said. 

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.