Wells project delays causing ripple effect on downtown development


Problems obtaining private funding to redevelop the long-vacant Wells Building has left the project on hold and is raising doubts whether the proposal will move forward.

“This is taking a lot of time and energy, and I’m running out of both,” said Gregg Strollo, owner of Strollo Architects, the company planning a $4.7 million project at the West Federal Street structure that is to include the firm’s offices and 12 apartments.

The project, initially proposed a year ago, ran into a financial snag because national lawsuits related to an Atlantic City boardwalk redevelopment made it difficult for companies with government tax credits to receive loans from lending institutions, city Finance Director David Bozanich said in February.

Because of that, the city approved giving $700,000 to Strollo Architects with Youngstown being in the first-lien position on the $1 million it is to receive in state tax credits, which are given upon the completion of the project.

After the city approved the funding, banks expressed interest in lending money for the project, but none has finalized a deal, Strollo said Friday.

If this project fails, the CIC will demolish the Wells Building, said Dave Kosec, the agency’s project manager.

The uncertainty of the Strollo project also is causing the CIC to wait on a decision to turn a fenced-in hole just east of Wells into a parking lot. The hole has been there since 2008 when the CIC demolished the Armed Forces Building and the State Theatre, keeping the latter building’s facade.

The CIC is keeping busy downtown as it nears completion on the demolition of the former 94-year-old Kress Building, next to the 7th District Court of Appeals building on West Federal Street.

Read more about development downtown in Saturday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.

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