Youngstown will pay $400 an hour to Cleveland firm for work on downtown hotel project

By David Skolnick


The city’s board of control hired a law firm at $400 an hour to serve as its attorney during the financing aspect of a downtown hotel project.

The contract with Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP would pay the Cleveland firm up to $25,000 to be the city’s associate counsel as it negotiates with the NYO Property Group, which is building the $31 million DoubleTree by Hilton hotel at the Stambaugh Building.

“There are a number of documents, a multiple stack, regarding financing, and [Calfee] will represent the city’s interests,” said city Law Director Martin Hume.

The documents deal with money the project is receiving from the Ohio Water Development Authority, $9 million in federal and state historic tax credits, private lenders, the developer’s equity and money from the city, Hume said.

The company will receive water and wastewater grants as well as a tax abatement from the city, said Finance Director David Bozanich.

The company wants a 15-year, 100-percent, real-property tax abatement. But that takes the approval of the city school district, which received the request in late September and still hasn’t made a decision.

If the district rejects that abatement request, the city is prepared to move on a 10-year, 75-percent abatement, said T. Sharon Woodberry, director of community planning and economic development.

NYO started interior work to the vacant structure in late July. That includes disposing ceiling tiles, old carpet, office supplies, chairs and other debris.

A city committee in August approved the first phase of exterior work including replacing windows at the building at 44 E. Federal St. as well as cleaning, replacing and re-pointing terra cotta.

Work to the 134-room hotel is slated to be finished by the end of 2017.

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