By Ed Runyan
Most of the demolition work that Girard resident Sergio DiPaolo had planned to carry out at the former Delphi Packard Electric plants on Dana and Griswold streets is complete, and now architectural renderings have been presented showing what the facilities might look like in the future.
But what DiPaolo’s architect presented to members of Warren City Council on Thursday was a surprise to the officials — a dramatic proposal involving the city’s putting its One-Stop office complex in the former Delphi Packard Electric Administration Building.
But the former Delphi Packard Electric World Headquarters building would look nothing like the functional, square structure that one can see on Dana Street now.
It would be 120,000 square feet of modern, interesting space that includes a 10,000- square-foot fitness center, outdoor track and restaurant.
The building would be the showpiece of a 400,000-square foot warehouse, office and commercial area, said Pavlos Pavlidis of Atekton Architects and Designers of Champion and Shaker Heights.
The remaining 60,000 square feet would be rented to other customers, and the city would engage in a “commercial condominium” financial arrangement with DiPaolo’s company, DiPaolo Industrial Development.
That means the city would own its part of the building and pay fees to an association for snow plowing, repairs and the like, said Pavlidis, a Warren native.
Pavlidis said companies are interested in using the remodeled space in the former administration building and the former production space across Dana Street, and they believe their project will move forward regardless of the city’s participation.
DiPaolo said companies are interested in the space because of the arrival of the oil and gas industry, including companies from Europe.
Councilwoman Helen Rucker said the presentation was “scary” to her because of the magnitude of the plans.
“It had all the bells and whistles,” Rucker said of plans for the 50,000 square feet the city is being asked to buy at a cost of $9.5 million.
Mayor Doug Franklin earlier had proposed building a new One-Stop office building downtown at a cost of about $10.5 million, but Franklin and council recently agreed to hold off until the local economy improves.
Rucker said council decided to hear DiPaolo’s proposal despite the One-Stop’s being “off the table” right now.
It is council’s policy to “consider all options,” Rucker said.
The idea of moving most city offices a half-mile north of Courthouse Square runs counter to what officials have tried to accomplish for the past 20 years — renovating the city’s downtown, she said.