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Port authority authorizes Warren development purchase


Developer Mark Marvin has acted on his vision of a downtown Warren full of vibrant living and recreational opportunities.

Now he’s pursuing an opportunity to transform a section of downtown on the opposite side of the Mahoning River from Courthouse Square that could make the river an attraction.

Marvin, along with Anthony Trevena, economic-development director for the Western Reserve Port Authority, and Warren Mayor Doug Franklin discussed the project at the port authority’s monthly meeting here Wednesday.

The port authority and Warren agreed months ago to team up so the port authority could use its economic-development tools to become temporary owner of certain properties and work with companies to develop them.

The first such project will be the SCOPE senior citizens center building on West Market Street and a vacant piece of land nearby.

The port authority authorized purchasing the property from the city and a sale agreement. The resolution says the purchase and sale is for economic development.

Marvin, who also owns several other buildings on Courthouse Square as well as the Downtown Development Group, said he has been in talks with two local companies interested in turning the location into a winery.

“In my opinion we, Warren, Ohio, is one of the few cities in the country that doesn’t take advantage of a river that runs straight through it. You go to San Antonio, OK, a bigger city, but you go to a lot of other cities that have this beautiful river running through and they have entertainment, they have restaurants, they have all kinds of stuff that goes on along the river. We have a beautiful river,” he said.

“Now this will present an opportunity for us to utilize that river and encourage other development along that river to spark more growth in the downtown Warren area.”

He said SCOPE will be moving to the YWCA building on North Park Avenue downtown, which “will be a gain for them.” The “buildout” of the SCOPE building by his company could begin within a matter of weeks, Marvin said.

His company also is renovating several buildings downtown into commercial and residential properties.

The Mahoning Building at the corner of West Market and Main Avenue now has four new condominiums atop commercial development in the bottom, he said.

The port authority board also approved another project involving construction of a water tower in Canfield in association with the Mahoning County commissioners and Aqua Ohio.

The Vindicator, September 21, 2017, Ed Runyan