New Shopping Center Planned for Western Reserve Road

BEAVER TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Eric Ryan’s timing has always been just right.  

His company, JAC Management, took over the reins of the Covelli Centre in the fall of 2007 just as Youngstown’s central business district was enjoying its rebirth.

For his next act, Ryan has embarked on an entirely new venture: commercial property development along a corridor that is also undergoing significant improvements.

Ryan, the president of JAC Management, and business partner Jeff Rudzik of Rudzik Excavating, plan to develop a 12,600-square-foot retail plaza on East Western Reserve Road directly across from the Shops at Southwestern Place, Ryan said. 

“We like the area,” Ryan said. “I will say that the interest is very high – higher than we expected.”

This section of Mahoning County is undergoing massive infrastructure upgrades that would support increased traffic and create additional demand for commercial and residential development, Ryan said.

These improvements make the location perfect for new commercial development, he said. “It’s a great area that’s growing,” as the site is just west of the Interstate 680 interchange. 

Ryan and Rudzik’s new company, Digging Shows LLC, purchased 2.5 acres in December 2022 from New Reserve Development Co. for $312,000, according to data from the Mahoning County Auditor’s office. 

Ryan said the partnership has options on additional acreage to the south that could potentially expand the development.

“It’s still preliminary, but we may build some stand-alone buildings, or warehouse space in the back,” Ryan said of possible future plans. 

Ryan said he hopes to start construction on the plaza within six months.

The development coincides with Mahoning County’s massive sanitary sewer project along Western Reserve Road that extends from the Hitchcock Road intersection to Unity Road in Poland and Springfield townships. 

The project also calls for widening the section of East Western Reserve where the new plaza is planned to improve traffic flow, which has become increasingly heavier over the past decade.

According to 2022 data from the Ohio Department of Transportation, more than 9,100 vehicles enter the northbound ramp of I-680 from Western Reserve Road each day. In 2011, ODOT reported a daily average of 8,444 vehicles.

Work on the development could possibly be finished by this time next year, according to the agent who brokered the deal.

“It’s a planned development that they’re hoping to start by this year,” said Alan Friedkin, associate broker at Burgan Friedkin Commercial Group. He said that, hopefully, the project could be finished by spring 2024.

Friedkin said two potential tenants have already expressed interest.

The site is now cleared, and earthmovers were parked near a broad sign advertising the new development.

Friedkin anticipates the road-widening project would be completed by the time the new plaza is finished and open for business.

Friedkin noted the plaza’s location is in line with both commercial and residential migration trends, as the population continues to build in southern Mahoning County. 

“It’s close to I-680 and can draw from Boardman, Columbiana and Poland – it’s not far from the residential base,” Friedkin said. “It looks like a good project, and we’re excited for the owners.”

The new plaza would complement other major developments nearby along Western Reserve Road, including Youngstown Orthopaedic Associates’ new $14 million office building that is now under construction.

Ryan said this latest project is a way to diversify his business interests, and that he’s still fully committed to JAC and the entertainment industry.

“We’d like to develop the land and plaza and explore different ways to build it up,” he said of the new project.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.