Downtown Youngstown business gets $20K for interior improvements
By David Skolnick
The city’s board of control approved a $20,000 grant to Warehouse 50 to help defray the costs of improvement work at the downtown restaurant and bar.
The business has made $112,561 in interior improvements and plans to add 22 new jobs over the next three years, said Tom DeAngelo, the city’s economic development coordinator.
Warehouse 50 is co-owned by Chris Sammarone, a son of Mayor Charles Sammarone, who sits on the board of control with Finance Director David Bozanich and Law Director Anthony Farris.
The mayor initially voted Thursday in favor of approving the city grant, but was quickly reminded by Farris that he needed to abstain. The motion was rescinded and Sammarone abstained from the second vote. Farris and Bozanich voted in favor of the proposal.
The board of control routinely gives money to downtown businesses through the city’s initiative program.
Warehouse 50 opened in June at the site of the former Dooney’s Downtown Grill & Bar, also co-owned by Sammarone’s son, that lasted for less than a year.
Before that, it was a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant from May 1994 to June 2012.
The Youngstown Initiative Committee in July recommended the board of control give $20,000 to Warehouse 50 toward its project before it started — contingent on the business receiving bank financing, DeAngelo said.
Warehouse 50 in the Stambaugh Building on the city’s Central Square didn’t get bank financing so it had to wait for the interior work to be done before obtaining the $20,000 from the city, DeAngelo said.
The interior work is done as is most of its exterior improvements, he said.
The renovation included partial demolition, drywall repair, the installation of a concrete bar top, plumbing work, restroom remodeling and the purchase of equipment, according to its application for the city funding.
The initiative program provides forgivable loans from the city’s general-fund budget for projects looking to expand or locate in Youngstown. After three years, if the business is in compliance with what it promised the city it would do, the loan becomes a grant.