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Eastern Gateway CC commits to port authority

WARREN — The Western Reserve Port Authority is preparing to move forward with its plans to buy the Harshman building in downtown Youngstown now that Eastern Gateway Community College has made a 10-year commitment to work on an agreement to rent space in that structure.

The building at 101 E. Boardman St. also would be used as office space for the the Northeast Ohio Development and Finance Authority, the port authority’s economic development arm.

“It’s exciting to be part of something that has the potential to make a positive impact on the community,” said Anthony Trevena, the port authority’s economic development director. “This plan repurposes the building and puts it back into productive use.”

Trevena, at an economic committee meeting on Wednesday, said the port authority is also in discussions with a potential commercial tenant. More information about that business would be made public closer to finalization of an agreement, he said.

The port authority moved last month to start negotiations to buy the former Harshman law firm building and spend up to $675,000 to purchase and renovate it. The market value of the building is $345,520, according to the Mahoning County Auditor’s Office.

On Tuesday, Eastern Gateway’s trustees agreed to pursue a 10-year agreement with the port authority. The college’s Valley Center, which occupies 101 E. Federal St. in Youngstown, is looking to expand its facilities to include both buildings, explained Arthur Daly, dean of the college’s Youngstown campus.

“We’re excited about this and the potential to expand our campus downtown and make that building part of our campus,” Daly said.

Daly and Trevena each said the partnership is in the beginning stages and the two sides have not finalized any terms, including the rental fee.

Trevena said Wednesday he expects most of the building to be occupied by the end of next summer, with his department moving in by the end of April and the community college setting up its facilities by July 1.

About 3,000 of the 14,000-square-foot structure would be used for office staff with about 8,000 square feet on the main floor and in the basement available to lease for office and / or retail space. The building’s owner, NYO Property Group, also owns Penguin Place in Youngstown, where the port authority’s economic development offices are now located.

The next port authority meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, 1453 Youngstown Kingsville Road NE, Vienna. The meeting will be followed by a 10:45 a.m. ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of an expansion project at the institute.

Tribune Chronicle, September 14, 2017, Virginia Shank