Economic Development

Port Authority Discusses Role in TJX Development

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio –Northeast Ohio Development and Finance Authority Staff met Tuesday with representatives of TJX Companies Inc. to discuss what role the agency could play in the development of a regional distribution center in Lordstown.

The $160 million warehouse for TJX’s HomeGoods division was among several economic development projects for which agency staff provided updates at the Western Reserve Port Authority’s monthly meeting.

Tuesday’s discussion with TJX representatives involved the process of the finance agency doing a capital lease for the project, said Anthony Trevena, economic development director for the port authority. NEODFA is the port authority’s economic development arm.

“They’re on a very strict schedule now. They wanted to know that we would not hold them up in the process,” Trevena said. “We had a very good conversation with them.”

Progress on the proposed 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse, which the local economic development community has been working on for about three years, was delayed last year over local opposition to rezoning several parcels needed for the project.

Recently, Lordstown Village Council recommended a 10-year, 75% tax abatement to support the project. The Trumbull County Board of Commissioners must now conduct public hearings on the abatement.

Trevena also told port authority board members about an upcoming meeting involving a project with a large manufacturer that is considering options in Mahoning County. The project is in the range of $30 million to $50 million. The finance authority is among the partners gathered by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber to work on the project.

“The chamber is the lead [local] agency when it comes to attraction and retention, and they do a wonderful job of coordinating all the teams,” Trevena said.

The chamber has been working with the company for several years and managed the site selection process to find a suitable location for the project, said Sarah Boyarko, the chamber’s chief operating officer, in a phone interview following the port authority board meeting. The project would involve an investment of $40 million in machinery and new construction would create an estimated 80 to 100 jobs.

“It’s a fairly introductory opportunity when it comes to an offer,” and this is an early stage in the process, Boyarko said. There also are out-of-state sites contending for the project, she said.

Sarah Lown, public finance manager for the port authority, provided an update on several projects in the pipeline at Castlo Industrial Park in Struthers. Lown is executive director of Castlo Community Improvement Corp., which the port authority manages.

They include a couple of logistics prospects, a pipe-finishing company that wants to expand and a Columbiana County plastics extruder that needs to triple its size to accommodate its growth.

“They reason they come to Castlo is it’s one of only two sites in our region that has two Class I rail lines flanking each side of the industrial park,” Lown said. “And we have a little short line that comes in and out of there.”

During the meeting, the port authority also to accept a 0.238 acre site on Niles Road in Warren under its agreement with the city to work with developers. In 2017, the city transferred eight properties to the port authority, one of which developer Mark Marvin is developing as a winery.

John Moliterno, port authority executive director, said he expected the board to take action on items related to several development projects at its February

The port authority, likely meeting for the final time at NEODFA’s offices at Penguin Place just north of downtown, re-elected Marty Loney, business agent for Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 396, as its chairman and Sam Covelli, owner and CEO of Covelli Enterprises, as vice-chairman. Attorney Dave Detec was elected secretary.

Penguin Place and the adjacent former St. Vincent DePaul building are slated for demolition later this year to make way additional student housing for Youngstown State University.

“I appreciate you vote of confidence,” Loney told the board following the vote.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.