Prodigal Son Returns, Again, with Plans for Apartments

WARREN, Ohio — A long-awaited development piece for downtown is on the horizon with the announcement Wednesday afternoon that several luxury apartments will be developed.

Mark D. Marvin, a Warren native and president of the Marvin Group Inc., says plans are underway to build the apartments in two of the four buildings he recently purchased. Once work is complete, the investment will total up to $2 million, he announced.

Public records show that Marvin purchased the buildings in late August and September for a total of $383,000.

Downtown Development Group LLC, a Marvin Group subsidiary, purchased 187 and 193 W. Market St. from Lake to River Holding Co. on Sept. 2 for $154,000, 124 N. Park Ave. from Warren Redevelopment and Planning Corp. on Sept. 18 for $75,000, and 197 W. Market St. from 197 W. Market Corp. on Aug. 28 for $154,000.

Marvin’s plans for the building at 197 W. Market include luxury apartments on the sixth floor and a condominium and office space on the seventh. Its current tenants include the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber, which sold the buildings at 187 and 193 W. Market St. to Marvin through its Lake to River Holding Co.

“This building and the two next door are almost 100% occupied,” Marvin said. “We plan on taking them to 100% occupancy.”

The two neighboring buildings will keep their current tenants.

Luxury apartments will also be going into a fourth building around the corner at 124 N. Park, according to Marvin. “We plan on doing luxury apartments on the second and third floors there,” he said.

The basement and first floors of this building are occupied and Marvin says he plans to keep the tenants in place, but added that down the road he could consider putting a restaurant in the space.

Downtown Development Group will operate and maintain the properties and any additional buildings that may be purchased. “We’ve been approached by two or three individuals,” Marvin said. “We’d like to see what the possibilities are there and if we can do more we’ll do more.”

This isn’t the first time Marvin has returned home bearing gifts. In 2009 he brought Reinforcement Systems of Ohio to the city’s west side, an investment of $28 million.

For his efforts Marvin was awarded the Donald Cagigas Spirit of the Chamber Award in 2011.

The business, which makes resistance-welded wire reinforcement for concrete, was sold but continues to operate as Engineered Wire Products here and in Las Cruces, N.M.

“We believe in the workforce, we believe in the people, we believe in the city, and that’s the reason why we came back here,” he said.

Construction on the apartments will begin as soon as the project architect finalizes the plans, Marvin said.

“We’re very proud of Mr. Marvin for not forgetting his hometown,” Mayor Doug Franklin said.

Marvin is a graduate of Warren G. Harding high school and Kent State University. He resides in Albuquerque, N.M., but maintains ties with his hometown.

“I’m a Browns fan, I’m a Cavs fan, and I’m an Indians fan – unfortunately,” he said.

“It’s kind of exciting because last week we were talking to another native son of Warren who wants to make a significant investment in the city at the old Delphi plant,” Franklin continued.

Christopher Alan, founder of Auto Parkit LLC, announced Oct. 13 that he is studying the plant as a potential site for manufacturing and engineering operations.

Greg Bartholomew, 4th ward councilman and owner of All American Cards and Comics downtown, believes the apartments will go fast once they are available.

“I always have people coming into my business asking me if there are any apartments for rent and I tell them everything I know of is full,” he said. If the city can get the people downtown, the businesses will follow, he added.

“We’ve seen it in downtown Youngstown. There’s a lot of housing there and that spurred a lot of business to come downtown,” he said. “Hopefully we can do that here too.”

“I think it’s going to stabilize the property values, if not increase the property values downtown,” Franklin predicted.

For Marvin, the question of whether this will prove to be a good investment for his company is an easy one to answer.

“I’ve brought a lot of people to this town as guests over the years that have done business with us at the factory,” he said. “The one thing I always hear is how beautiful our downtown square is, and I can’t disagree with that.”

Pictured: City officials confer with Mark Marvin and his associates outside the Mahoning Building, which Marvin’s company recently purchased.

Mark Heschmeyer contributed reporting to this story.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.