Economic Development

Owner Seeks to Sell, Develop Former GE Site

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The partnership that purchased the site of the former General Electric Youngstown Lamp Plant is marketing the property for potential development or sale.

The partnership, 40 Hughes LLC, purchased the 2.9-acre site, at Market and Hughes streets, just south of the central business district, for $95,000 in an online auction in July 2017.

The site was among six Ohio GE properties offered in the real estate auction by Hilco Real Estate. A GE building in Niles was withdrawn before the auction ended.

Paul Johnson, president of Adolph Johnson & Son Co., Mineral Ridge, and a partner whose name he did not disclose, bought the property as 40 Hughes.

“We look at it as the gateway to the city coming from the south,” Johnson said. “It’s a nice piece of property. Hopefully some other people will think the same thing.

The site officially transferred to 40 Hughes from GE Lighting inc. in December. Signs recently went up on the fence surrounding the site offering it sale, lease or build to suit.

“We haven’t been doing a lot to market it,” Johnson said. First, the partners wanted to clear the brush and other overgrowth on the site, which has been vacant since the lamp plant building was demolished in 2014.

The partnership was contacted by an out-of-town entity that expressed interest but the inquiry “didn’t seem to go anywhere,” he said.

T. Sharon Woodberry, the city’s director of community planning and economic development, said she communicated with representatives of the partnership regarding the property shortly after they acquired it. Their main interests were zoning issues and aspecific uses the city would like for the site.

While Woodberry could not say “any specific type of industry” would be a good fit, the site — near the Market Street entrance and exit ramps for Interstate 680 — offers several benefits, including high visibility, good freeway access and placement on one of the city’s major corridors.

And it is large enough that development likely wouldn’t require assembling adjacent parcels for a project, at least not right away. “The characteristics of that site do give it some advantages,” Woodberry said.

Johnson envisions several different potential uses for the property, including a convenient store, grocery store or office building.

“It has a nice view of the city,” he said. “Those are a couple things off the top of my head.”

Given the site’s features, Woodberry acknowledged she was surprised the site hasn’t drawn more interest.

“But I’ve found that, in the nature of what we do, it has to be the right site available at the right time,” she said. Once the right party comes along, it’s important for those sites to be available.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.