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City plans to wreck Wean, add parking lot

Published: Thu, March 22, 2012 @ 12:09 a.m.

agreement to change ownership awaits OK



SEE ALSO: $250K Youngstown government study to begin in April

By David Skolnick



The vacant Wean United Building, one of downtown’s biggest eyesores, could be demolished and the site turned into a parking lot in a year, city officials say.

The city had planned to use a $1,775,418 state grant and $591,806 of its own money for an environmental cleanup of the 10.43-acre site and demolition of about half of a vacant industrial building on the property.

But Finance Director David Bozanich told city council Wednesday that the city is in the process of finalizing an agreement with William Marsteller, who owns the site, for Youngstown to take ownership of the property.

The tentative deal calls for the city to clean up the entire site; Marsteller would pay to demolish the building — which sits on 7.63 acres of that site — and sell it for scrap, said Bozanich and T. Sharon Woodberry, economic development director. Then Marsteller would turn over ownership of the property to the city as part of the plan, Bozanich and Woodberry said.

The city needs approval from the state to use the grant for the new plan and is progressing in discussions on the change, Bozanich said.

Also, the new proposal shouldn’t cost any more than the original plan because the city isn’t paying demolition costs, he said.

“We’ll finally be getting rid of a broken-down dinosaur of a building that’s been an eyesore for years,” Woodberry said. “We would have a prime downtown site available for development. That’s prime real estate.”

If all goes according to plan, work on the site should begin in a couple of months and be finished in a year.

Though a light industrial building may be in that site’s future, Bozanich said the initial goal would be to turn the location into parking. Specifically, he said, the plan is for paid parking for patrons of the city-owned Covelli Centre, which is on the east side of the Market Street Bridge. The Wean United site is on the west side of the bridge, off West Front Street.

“We’ve been aggressively pursuing the demolition of that site for years, and it looks like it’s finally going to happen,” he said.

Wean United closed the plant in 1989. Portions of the property were used by other companies over the years, but it’s been vacant in recent months.

Meanwhile, Bozanich said Wednesday that V&M Star has a lease with an option to buy the former RAS Manufacturing building in the city-owned Salt Springs Business Park. The company plans to invest about $3 million to turn that building into a roll shop as part of the its $650 million expansion project, Bozanich said.

The company had intended to use property at the expansion location — land that Youngstown took from Girard as part of a deal in which the two cities would split the 2.75-percent income tax on workers there — but V&M officials changed that plan in order to use the expansion site for other purposes, Bozanich said.

With V&M relocating to the 96,000-square-foot former RAS property, Youngstown would receive all of the income tax paid by the 25 workers there and would put to good use a location vacant for about four years, Bozanich said.

City council agreed Wednesday to permit the board of control to waive building permit and water and wastewater fees for V&M for that property.

Also Wednesday, council postponed a vote for about two weeks to provide up to $80,000 to Iron City Wood Products of Campbell, which plans to spend about $900,000 to expand to the Ross Industrial Park on Albert Street. The city money would be to offset the cost of building water and sewer lines to the East Side location.

The deal will still move ahead, said Woodberry and Councilwoman Annie Gillam, D-1st, who represents that part of the city, but Iron City first wants to look further at options to reduce the cost of building water and sewer lines.


1James_S(268 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Youngstown was and now is not. Should we be referred to as the "Steel Valley" anymore?
Youngstown was one of the greatest steel-producing cities in the entire world AND NOW it is a shell.
"Truth is tyranny in the empire of lies"- Ron Paul.
The empire of lies has us believing that their "globalization" is the answer. But their "globalization" has destroyed Youngstown AND Ohio AND the rest of this country's INDUSTRIAL BASE THAT MADE THE USA GREAT.
And anybody against their "globalization" and their "global economy" is termed an "isolationist".
The Founding Fathers warned us of "foreign entanglements"- ALLIANCES with foreign nations.
We also were told NOT to interfere with other nations' doings and by no means start any wars with any foreign nations unless they attacked us first.
We were told to trade with other nations but not force anything upon them.
We are living in a world of darkness and illusion. Lies are truth and truths are lies.
$$$MONEY$$$ and the people who own it in this country have established their "empire of lies".
Wean will be sold as "SCRAP".
The steel mills were sold as "SCRAP".
It appears to me that all of the former Youngstown, the "Late, Great Youngstown", is "SCRAP" to the eyes of the EMPIRE and the people they have serving them.

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2peacelover(839 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

:) ^ ^ ^I

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3boardmanres(40 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Woodberry said. “We would have a prime downtown site available for development. That’s prime real estate.”

So lets turn it into a parking lot, where no cars will park because there is nothing down there to draw people

I know it would cost money, but why not refurbish the building, like the did for Quaker Square in Akron and turn it into shops,
Where is the vision? We can drive to Grove City, or Pittsburgh or Cleveland and shop at William Sonoma, or Crate and Barrel or other stores like that.
Sure it was an eyesore, but that is because nothing was done with it.
Any other ideas, before they tear it down.
How about some kind of science center with research capabilities, housing, anything but a parking lot.

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4republicanRick(1741 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

boardmanres, put up your money for your wild idea. Building is too old, too big and we do not need more shopping in an already saturated market.

This is great news about the demolition, excellent work by Youngstown officials.

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5Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Well said James.

Interesting how fees are waived to seal the deal with V&M Star.

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