Review committee to interview developers

The finance director referred to three proposals as worth pursuing.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A review committee expects to hear presentations on the civic center project within three weeks.
David Bozanich, city finance director, gave some details on the process Tuesday to downtown's redevelopment agency, the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp.
Bozanich expects the interviews to be between Oct. 10 and Oct. 15. Those dates could change depending on availability.
Mayor George M. McKelvey said the group likely will include him, the city law and finance directors and city council members. He also wants Hunter Morrison, Cleveland's former planning director, to take part. Morrison is the liaison between the city and Youngstown State University while each develops a master plan.
The interviews probably will be open for the public and press to watch, McKelvey said, since he expects a majority of council will be involved.
The interviews are a chance for developers to outline their visions and detail their plans, he said.
At the CIC, Bozanich referred to three proposals as worth pursuing because the developers seem financially strong.
The city will talk with all the companies before scheduling interviews, Bozanich said. All developers will be invited to make presentations. Some may bow out after seeing the competition, he said.
Five companies competing
Last week, five companies sent the city some type of proposal.
The Landmark Organization of Austin, Texas; Garfield Traub Development of Dallas; and the Waterford Group of Waterford, Conn., are big developers. Each extensively listed its qualifications to handle building and operating an arena, conference center and hotel as the city requested.
MG Financial Services of Carmel, Ind., sent only a proposal for a 6,500-seat arena. Ellerbe Becket of Kansas City, Mo., noted only its interest in designing and engineering any project.
After the interviews, the review committee will rank the proposals. The city then will start negotiating with the top pick.
Ultimately, the city's board of control -- the mayor and law and finance directors -- awards a contract. City council must appropriate the $26.8 million in federal funds available for the project.
The goal is to make the pick by year's end and break ground as soon as the spring.

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