City Mulls Third Proposal for Grocery Store Site

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The city is considering a third alternative to the two formal proposals submitted for the former Bottom Dollar Food building on Glenwood Avenue.

“We did get another party that is interested in the building. We think they are a strong candidate that will provide a valuable service to the neighborhood,” Woodberry said. “We’re going to further explore that.”

T. Sharon Woodberry, Youngstown director of community planning and economic development, confirmed that city officials are evaluating an oral proposal made for the former grocery store property after the noon deadline March 2. That date had been extended from the original Feb. 1 because no proposals were receive

Last year, Youngstown took title to the building, which had been built on property the city had donated to the grocery store chain.

The two proposals received by the March 2 deadline were submitted by Big Dipper Food Co. in Youngstown and Valley Christian Church, which congregation meets in Boardman.

Big Dipper Food, which manufactures and sells peanut brittle and assorted varieties of flavored popcorn, proposed leasing the property for $1,500 per month for six months with an option to purchase for $180,000. It would spend $500,000 for equipment and improvements to the building, which it would use for warehousing and distribution to accommodate its projected growth.

Valley Christian is asking the city to donate the property for use as a church and multipurpose community center.

Woodberry declined to discuss specifics of the proposal, which she said she received either March 2 or 3. “Because of the proposal itself, we think it’s one that we strongly need to consider but they did not submit their proposal in a written form,” she said. “Without having that, it’s not something that we want to discuss at this time.”

The request for proposals issued last December said that all proposed users would be given consideration, but priority accorded developers proposing a grocery store. Before Bottom Dollar Food opened four years ago, the South Side neighborhood had been without a full-service grocery store about a decade.

In addition, according to the documents, the city “reserves the right to reject any or all proposals and to waive any formalities in the proposal process, or to accept the proposal deemed most favorable to the city.”

The next step is to engage community stakeholders to see how they react to the proposal, Woodberry said. She anticipates that meeting will occur within a week.

Although she would not discuss the proposal in detail, she acknowledged that a grocery store could part of the concept for the property in the proposal. “That’s also something that makes [the new proposal] worthwhile because that could be incorporated,” she said.

Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.