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YOUNGSTOWN Appraisal holds up plan for B & amp;O site



Published: Thu, August 30, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The committee also recommends refinancing a loan to Anthony's On The River.

By ROGER G. SMITH

CITY HALL REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A new appraisal of the B & amp;O Station's value is needed before council will approve a brew pub and restaurant at the old train depot.

City development officials hope to have the appraisal before a special council meeting next week so members can approve the lease. If not, council's economic development committee said Wednesday, it will delay the deal until it's done.

Councilman John R. Swierz, D-7th, demanded that a complete lease either come before council now or be brought back when it's done. Giving the McKelvey administration the authority to negotiate a final deal could leave terms council doesn't like, he said.

The lease, which will include an option to buy, is ready except for the new appraisal. A 1997 value was pegged at $482,000. Water damage, vandalism and aging equipment, however, have driven down the value.

The city would lease the building to a company owned by Bill Marsteller. He renovated the old General Fireproofing and Commercial Intertech buildings and brought in small businesses. He would renovate the old rail station.

Would move in: Former state representative Christopher Verich and his brother, Michael, another former state legislator, would move their Ohio Brewing Co. from Niles to the B & amp;O.

A restaurant also would open. Keeping the building open, however, won't hinge on the restaurant's success, Marsteller has said.

Marsteller also will put up $250,000. The city would keep whatever money isn't spent on the building if the project fails. Any money spent will be subtracted from the sale price.

The committee is recommending approval of two other items:

UA refinancing of a U.S. Small Business Administration loan for Anthony's On the River.

The downtown restaurant is asking SBA to stretch out a 10-year loan, given about four years ago, to 25 years. That will reduce monthly payments and free up more working capital so Anthony's can strengthen its business.

Business hasn't been as good as the restaurant had hoped, said David Bozanich, deputy city finance director. Owner Anthony Saadey wants better cash flow while waiting for other development downtown, such as the proposed arena, he said.

The city is guaranteeing $312,000 of the SBA loan. Under the new deal, the city will lend Anthony's $80,000 from a revolving loan fund, and its guarantee on the original loan will drop to under $150,000, Bozanich said. The city also will have a stake in the building.

UA $625,000, no-interest, 18-month loan for Allegra Print and Imaging of Youngstown to acquire Postal Mail Sort Inc. The money will come from federal funds the city has set aside for no-interest loans.

The merger would preserve 50 jobs and add up to 20 jobs over three years.

rgsmith@vindy.com




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