YBI Moves Forward on 5th Building Project

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Barb Ewing is looking forward to having hammers swinging inside the fifth building of the Youngstown Business Incubator by Nov. 1. “And I would be thrilled if it would be before then,” she said Tuesday.

The project to convert the former Vindicator building into the fifth building of the incubator Tech Block campus is in the design and engineering phase, Ewing, YBI chief operating officer, said.

Under the terms of the $3 million grant YBI received from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, work cannot begin until the project is bid as a whole, she said. She anticipates occupancy of the renovated building by next March.

“So far everything is pretty well in line with what our expectations were. There haven’t been any big, ugly surprises,” she said. “The building’s owners provided us with as much information as they could” and YBI officials “did a lot of due diligence and that has paid off.”

Plans call for renovating the 57,000-square-foot building for use by additive manufacturing startup firms and space for YBI portfolio companies once they “graduate.”

This evening City Council will consider a 50% Community Reinvestment Area tax abatement to support the project. It would run 12 years.

The abatement is important because it would help with the project’s cash flow, Ewing said. The $5.7 million project would the first time the incubator has taken on debt for a project, a five-year loan of $630,000 through Village Capital Corp. in Cleveland.

The annual tax on the property is approximately $10,000, according to the YBI application for the abatement.

Under the ordinance council will consider, the project would create five jobs within three years and retain 12.

Those jobs figures reflect the “proportional value” of the abatement to the overall project cost, Ewing said. “At the end of the day we anticipate there could be several hundred people employed in the building and numerous companies relocating or growing there,” she said. “This is a big project that will have a big impact on the downtown.”

Fundraising for the project is ongoing, she said. A small online campaign is expected in the coming weeks. Then, once plans for the building’s design are completed, there will be opportunities for naming rights opportunities throughout the structure.

Pictured: The former Vindicator building will be converted into the YBI’s fifth building.

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