Port Authority Seeks Proposals for Sweet Arrangements Site

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Friday marked the first open house for 1538 Mahoning Ave. – the former Sweet Arrangements florist property. 

The Western Reserve Port Authority – in conjunction with partners Economic Action Group, Mahoning County Land Bank, Mahoning County Land Reutilization Corp. and the city of Youngstown – is now accepting requests for proposal applications for the property.

Nicholas Chretien, director of Economic Action Group and planning and development manager for the port authority, said this is just one of several “building blocks” in the effort to revitalize the Mahoning Avenue corridor.

“Originally, this was just a residential structure back in the day,” he said. “Over the past 41 years, Sweet Arrangements Florist shop was here, and they expanded that home into now what we see as a storefront.”

Chretien said the floral property was acquired for about $70,000. An additional $5,000 to 10,000 was put into stabilization, making the property prime space for commercial use.

Nicholas Chretien, director of Economic Action Group and planning and development manager for the Western Reserve Port Authority.

The port authority worked with 4th Ward Councilman Mike Ray, who supported using American Rescue Plan funds for the project. Ray said about $200,000 was allocated for Mahoning Avenue projects.

“A few years ago we had completed a commercial corridor market analysis showing that Mahoning Avenue would be a viable commercial corridor to reinvest in,” Chretien said. “As a part of that, we started our efforts with what has now become the Voyager Specialty Coffees & Teas coffee house project at 1586 and 1588 Mahoning Ave.”

More projects will be coming in the future, according to Chretien. 

Chretien said the efforts are all part of the Commercial Property Revitalization initiative, whose goal is to “breathe life” back into Youngstown’s vacant properties.

“We see these spaces as building blocks for neighborhoods and really returning the city back to a commercial corridor field that it once had,” he said. 

“We looked at Mahoning Avenue as a corridor that connects the city with the suburbs, and there is a lot of traffic here,” Ray said. 

Ray said the project improves overall quality of life, tax benefits and employment opportunities.

“Small businesses are really the backbone of our economy. It is really important to support our local businesses on this corridor,” Ray said.

“This is just one of hopefully many projects here, and we are just going to keep the momentum going and look at future projects on this corridor and other corridors throughout the Valley,” Chretien added.

“Coming up soon is 3143 Mahoning [Ave.] – the former Clark’s Bar on upper Mahoning,” he said. “This is the second project.”

Chretien the port authority is working with Ray and Councilman Patrick Kelly, 5th Ward, as well as state Rep. Lauren McNally of Youngstown, a former council member.

Those interested in the 1538 Mahoning Ave. property can contact Chretien at nchretien@westernreserveport.com.

Pictured at top: The former Sweet Arrangements florist shop at 1538 Mahoning Ave.

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