Economic Development

WRPA Poised to Close on Harshman Building

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Western Reserve Port Authority will open bids Feb. 14 to renovate the first floor and basement on the Harshman Building downtown.

The port authority is purchasing the downtown Youngstown building from NYO Property Group for $350,000 and intends to lease the renovated space to Eastern Gateway Community College.

Last year, the port authority authorized spending up to $675,00 to purchase and renovate the building.

Anthony Trevena, director of the Northeast Ohio Development and Finance Authority, WRPA’s economic development division, told port authority board members at their monthly meeting that he expected to close soon on the building’s purchase from NYO Property Group.

“We were hoping to have it closed this week but that’s been extended” because of some remaining items to be worked out, Trevena said.

Eastern Gateway, which plans to use the space for medical education programs, wants to be in the building in time for its fall 2018 semester, according to Randy Partika, project manager and development engineer.

The college already is advertising classes in the building for fall semester, Trevena said. “My goal is to hand them the keys July 15,” he said.

Earlier, the port authority had planned on moving the development division’s offices into the second floor of the Harshman Building from their current home in Penguin Place, but now discussions are under way with a potential tenant that would occupy the entire second floor of the downtown building.

“We don’t have a letter of intent, though. We’re negotiating,” Trevena said. “We feel very positive about it.”

He said he recently met state Sen. Joe Schiavoni and state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan regarding potential capital funds for the project. The port authority also is exploring the possibility of Appalachian Regional Commission funds on equipment for Eastern Gateway to use in the building.

Other projects Trevena updated the board on included the former Scope center in downtown Warren. The port authority will acquire the former senior citizen center from the city to transfer it to Mark Marvin’s Downtown Development Group.

Marvin is working with a local vintner who wants to develop a winery on the West Market Street property. Closing on that property will take place the first week of February, Trevena said.

“A lot of things are coming to fruition in Warren,” said port authority Executive Director John Moliterno. Among those are Marvin’s acquisition of the Robins Theater building, which officials see as a “potential crown jewel for the city,” and the recent purchase of the Huntington Bank building by Midwest Ventures & Consulting.

“We’re very happy to be involved with the city of Warren on a variety of project,” Moliterno said. “It’s exciting to watch the changes taking place.”

At the start of the meeting, members of the WRPA board voted to retain its current slate of officers: Martin Loney as board chairman, Sam Covelli as vice chairman and Richard Edwards as secretary-treasurer.

After board member Kathy Kennedy motioned to keep the current officers, Ron Klingle, Loney’s predecessor as chairman, offered a motion nominating Covelli as chairman and David Mosure as vice chairman.

“Right now, I don’t have a problem with keeping it the way it is,” Covelli responded, and Klingle’s motion died for lack of a second. The board then voted to keep the lineup of officers as Kennedy proposed.

The board also retained the same committee chairmen, including Covelli as chairman of the economic development committee.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.