YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Downtown Warren developer Mark Marvin will purchase and redevelop the former Mickey’s Army-Navy store after he completes the purchase of the building from the Western Reserve Port Authority.
The port authority, which received the property at 231 Main Ave. SW last month as a donation, will sell the building to Marvin’s Bull and Rhino Land Co. for $350,000.
Under terms of the agreement, which awaits final approval by the port authority’s board of directors, Marvin will make a $35,000 down payment on the building and the port authority will craft a note for $315,000 that will be forgiven if Marvin makes a bricks-and-mortar investment of at least that amount in the property.
“He will probably spend at least $400,000,” said port authority chief operating officer Anthony Trevena during the agency’s monthly meeting Wednesday. The building has experienced significant water damage because of the condition of the roof, repairs to which are estimated to cost between $150,000 and $180,000 alone, he said.
Marvin’s Downtown Development Group is responsible for acquiring and redeveloping several downtown Warren buildings for residential and commercial use, including the Mahoning Building and Robins Theater.
The port authority previously transferred the former Warren Scope senior center to Marvin, who redeveloped it as CharBenay’s Wine on the River.
The Main Avenue property is expected to transfer to Bull and Rhino by the end of March, Trevena said. In the meantime, the port authority entered into a lease with Marvin’s company to allow it to begin stabilizing the property.
“It needs a lot of work,” Marvin said after the meeting. “In order for us to not let it deteriorate for another couple months, we asked if we could go ahead and lease it to give us the opportunity to go in and stabilize the building.”
Repairing the roof will be the top priority once the weather breaks, followed by improving the exterior of the building and repairing the parking lot, he said.
Marvin also said he wanted to work with the plaza’s two existing tenants, a Subway franchise and Dub City Beauty, to keep them there. Dub City Beauty, a hair and beauty supply store, plans to expand into an adjacent space, giving it a total of 3,500 square feet.
“Today we’re starting the process of emptying that spot for them,” Marvin said. He is already in discussions with another tenant for the remaining street-level space and is mulling concepts for the lower level of the building, including potentially a grocery store.
“The priority is to get it back in productive use,” Trevena said.
The port authority board also heard from Rick Stockburger, president and CEO of Brite Energy Innovators in Warren, who shared a presentation on Ohio opportunities in the lithium-ion battery supply chain. The intent of the presentation was to encourage “community buy-in at a basic level” that the Mahoning Valley can play a significant supply chain role in an emerging industry, he said.
“We are extremely well positioned to be a meaningful part of this supply chain,” Stockburger said.
Brite already receives four to six calls weekly from companies expressing interest in the area because of the investments being made by Lordstown Motors Corp. and Ultium Cells.
“We are building a national brand,” he said.
The most important step that can be taken locally is for local economic development organizations to collaborate on a plan that can be presented to the federal government, which is going to be making substantial investments to support advanced vehicle technologies.
Stockberger’s presentation focused on a preliminary analysis prepared by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a London-based consulting firm, in collaboration with JobsOhio and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Of the five stages of production that the report defines, the Mahoning Valley already has a presence in two – cell manufacturing and application. Additionally, he pointed to such assets as the region’s geographic location and history of expertise in auto manufacturing.
“Ohio has always been an automotive powerhouse. We already have a very skilled workforce in the space that will need retraining opportunities to get those folks back to work in a meaningful way,” he said.
John Moliterno, the port authority’s CEO, noted that the port authority was the lead applicant for a federal transportation grant last year that aimed to capitalize on the private investments taking place in Lordstown.
Other partners in the application, which was turned down last September, included the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments and Youngstown State University.
“We’re not done. We’re already talking about the next application,” he said.
Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio. Wednesday, February 17, 2021. George Nelson