Tenant Announcement Coming Soon on Market Street ‘Boat’ Building

HOWLAND TOWNSHIP, Ohio – The Western Reserve Port Authority’s economic development director expects an announcement next month on an apparent retail project at 3900 Market St. in Youngstown, the site of the familiar boat-influenced building near the intersection with Midlothian Boulevard.

The port authority’s board of directors at its meeting here Wednesday also gave authorization to approve financing for developing the site, including asbestos abatement and demolition. The port authority awarded the asbestos abatement contract to Environmental Protection Systems LLC of Girard for $25,100, and the demolition contract to ProQuality Demolition of Campbell, which bid $82,000.   

The board also approved the sale of $13 million in revenue bonds to finance a 58-unit skilled nursing and rehabilitation center in Boardman being developed by EDM Management Inc., Boardman, and entered into an economic development agreement with the city of Youngstown.  

TCF Bank, until recently known as Chemical Bank, announced just over a year ago that it would donate the Market Street building to the port authority for future development purposes. TCF is moving into a nearby building vacated by PNC Bank.  

“This is a critical piece for the township on our northern end,” said Krista Beniston, Boardman’s director of zoning and development. The bank initially approached Boardman about the property but the township lacked the capacity and expertise in economic development and reached out to the port authority. 

The port authority explored “all options” for use of the property before reaching an agreement with the developer chosen, said Anthony Trevena, WRPA’s economic development director. 

“We were exploring anything that would fit for what the township and the community felt would be deemed a best use for the property,” he said. 

“Redeveloping this is really going to clean up that little corner,” Boardman Trustee Brad Calhoun said. “It’s going to provide some opportunities for employment and once the announcements of what retail will go in there I think people will be excited about having some choices there.”

Trevena declined to elaborate further on details of the project.

“There will be employees and there will be customers,” he said. “It’s an exciting announcement.”  

Western Reserve Port Authority economic development director Anthony Trevena, far right, discusses the EDM Management project in Boardman.

Construction is already well underway at the site of Briarfield Place, across from the Mercy Health’s St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital campus. The 51,000-square-foot project is expected to be completed in April 2021, said Robert Rupeka, chief financial officer for EDM. 

Once it is operating at full capacity, Briarfield Place is expected to employ between 70 and 100 workers, he reported. The project was driven by the shift in population to the western part of Mahoning County, a shift Mercy recognized when it built its hospital there.   

“The patients that are going to access services like to access skilled nursing services in close proximity to their homes in general and also in proximity to the health-care facility that they may be discharging from,” Rupeka said. “That location is a perfect match for both those criteria.”  

Under the agreement approved with the city of Youngstown, the port authority will market city-owned properties and work directly with developers on projects. The agreement, which Youngstown’s city council and board of control approved two months ago, is modeled on a similar agreement between WRPA and the city of Warren. 

“This agreement is long overdue. We have a lot of projects in the pipeline,” said Nikki Posterli, chief of staff to Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and director of community planning and economic development. “Some of these projects wouldn’t be as far along as they are in the pipeline without the support of the port authority.” 

The port authority’s executive director, John Moliterno, reported that a conference call is scheduled for next week with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman on the application for grants to the federal Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development – or Build – program. The port authority is the lead applicant on applications seeking about $31 million to fund transportation and infrastructure improvements leveraging advanced vehicle technology investments in the village of Lordstown. 

Joining Moliterno on the call will be Jim Kinnick, executive director of Eastgate Regional Council of Governments; Patrick Smith, interim executive director of DriveOhio; and Ferzan M. Ahmed, executive director of the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission.

The project also has the support of U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, Moliterno said. 

“We’re excited about this. We’re excited about what’s taking place at Lordstown,” he said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.