Panel wants Masters building complex to be torn down

The CIC board will consider the recommendation next week.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The downtown redevelopment agency's property committee is recommending its full board allow the city to demolish the former Masters building complex on West Federal Street.
The Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp. owns the Masters complex and has worked with the city on a plan to take down the buildings. Last month, city council agreed to spend about $500,000 to demolish the Masters complex.
CIC's property committee recommended two agreements Tuesday to its full board, which meets next Tuesday and is expected to approve the recommendations then.
The agreements would permit the city to enter the Masters property, with the CIC having no legal liability should an accident at the site occur, and allow the city to remove asbestos and demolish the vacant structures.
City officials had initially said it would also pave the site for an 80- to 90-vehicle parking lot.
But Jeffrey Chagnot, the city's economic development director, said Tuesday that the paving would be done only if there is enough money left after the asbestos abatement and demolition of the buildings.
The city wants to hire one contractor to do the abatement and demolition because it is a cheaper proposition than hiring two contractors, Chagnot said.
A previous study of the property showed the environmental issues at the Masters site "aren't as significant as we thought," said Reid Dulberger, a CIC staffer and executive vice president of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.
If the city determines there are no major problems at the site, it will advertise for bids in about a month, and the buildings will be demolished by mid-summer, Chagnot said.
The buildings, about 80 years old, are on the south side of West Federal Street between Vindicator Square and Fifth Avenue. The buildings, vacant for about 20 years, used to house Masters, a business that rented tuxedos and costumes, and did some dry cleaning.
The only current business in the complex is Ross Radio Inc., a retail electronic store on the far west corner, closest to Fifth Avenue. The CIC doesn't own that building, and it is not part of the demolition project.

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