YOUNGSTOWN Lariccia's, McDonald's plan moves

Lariccia's Italian Foods has considered a suburban presence for several years.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A business shuffle is in the works at South Avenue and Midlothian Boulevard.
If the deal materializes, McDonald's would close its Midlothian store and build a new restaurant at the corner straddling the city-Boardman line.
The shift also would mean a well-known specialty grocery, Lariccia's Italian Foods, relocating to Southern Boulevard in Boardman.
Avoiding annexation: The city is working with Boardman and Mahoning County to avoid annexation, said Councilman John R. Swierz, D-7th. Of the three lots McDonald's wants to buy, one is in the city and two are in the township.
Under discussion is a deal where employees would work in the Youngstown portion of the property. That way, the city could continue collecting income taxes, Swierz said. Boardman would collect most of the property taxes.
McDonald's is receptive to the arrangement, Swierz said, though no deal is final. All sides would avoid a year or more in court over annexation, the city would keep some income tax that otherwise would be lost from McDonald's and Lariccia's moving to the township, and Boardman would lose little.
"If this works out, it's a fine example of cooperation to make a project work," Swierz said.
McDonald's wants to close its Midlothian restaurant, about two-tenths of a mile from the proposed new site, because the building is nearly 40 years old, Swierz said.
McDonald's was scheduled to make a presentation Tuesday before the city zoning appeals board. The company was seeking a few variances.
Tabled issue: The company, however, asked to table the item until next month because the zoning board lacked a quorum. The company prefers to make its presentation with the full board present, Swierz said.
McDonald's would build, in part, on the spot where Lariccia's now operates.
That's why the Italian grocery will move to a spot behind Southern Park Mall if the deal is finalized, said Mike Allegretto. He and his wife, Tessa, have operated the store for 10 years.
They bought the Boardman property a few years ago with an eye toward expansion since Boardman is a growth area, he said. Even some of the store's older customers have moved to the suburbs and would welcome a Boardman location, he said.
McDonald's' plans just pushed that idea ahead, Allegretto said.
"It just seemed like the right move," he said.
If the deal falls apart, Allegretto said he would keep the Youngstown location and expand to the Boardman site.
"We're kind of in a limbo period," he said. "We're just kind of waiting to see what happens."

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