YOUNGSTOWN CIC plan shows positive results

One business has finished the six-year lease-to-own deal, and another company next door is starting one.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Downtown's redevelopment agency noted two happy occasions, right next door to each other.
First, there's a first for the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp.
The Draught House on Federal Street became the inaugural business to complete CIC's six-year lease-to-own program. Tuesday, the CIC board approved turning over the building's title to Draught House owner Wayne Cornelius for $960.
Cornelius was leasing the CIC building when he took the lease-to-buy deal six years ago.
How it works
The first year's is rent-free. Rent is $50 per month for the next five years. A business then has four months to buy the building for a nominal fee.
The deal is structured to assure that a business is stable before CIC gives up a building. That avoids public funds' being spent to buy back a property should a business fail and the building be left vacant.
Cornelius asked a few times over the years to buy the building sooner, but CIC rejected the move because of the policy. It's nice to see that everything worked out, said G. Richard Pavlock, CIC president.
Next door
Second, the CIC approved a lease-to-buy deal Tuesday for the John R. Davis building next to the Draught House.
Seidler Engineering will start making $200,000 worth of improvements to the building soon. The company's seven employees, who now work inside the nearby Youngstown Business Incubator, are expected to move in the spring, said Robin Rogers, CIC executive director.
The improvements will include restoring the Davis building's facade to its original look and renovating the first floor into offices.
CIC is hoping to keep incubator companies downtown. Seidler is the first incubator company to occupy a CIC building.
"We should be pleased," said Mark Brown, CIC's property committee chairman and Vindicator general manager.
CIC officials said a $9,600 settlement with H.D. Rider's Rock Cafe over the Davis building cost the agency a $2,200 insurance deductible.
Two years ago, CIC signed a lease-to-own deal on the building with Tony Cervone of Innerscope Technical Services for a restaurant and bar with rock 'n' roll-motorcycle theme. Cervone spent about $28,000 gutting the building but made little other progress, and CIC eventually took back the building.
In other business
CIC's board handled two other issues:
* Approved spending up to $3,500 to install shatter-proof glass, black backdrops and displays to replace the boards over windows on four downtown buildings: Wells, Kress, Semple and Arthole.
Tom Humphries, president of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, asked that the empty buildings be improved.
* Approved paying up to $4,500 to repair the roof on the Two Guys store. Water caused some of the ceiling to fall last week. CIC officials talked about abandoning the building but instead chose the emergency repair work before addressing the building's long-term future later.

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