Youngstown council to consider signing management and food-and-beverage contracts for amphitheater and Covelli Centre

By David Skolnick


The city council on Wednesday will consider legislation allowing the board of control to sign contracts with JAC Management Group LLC to oversee the day-to-day operations and the food-and-beverage sales at the proposed downtown amphitheater and to continue to handle those responsibilities at the Covelli Centre.

But two of the three board of control members – Mayor John A. McNally and Finance Director David Bozanich – said Monday it’s unlikely that council will approve the legislation Wednesday.

That’s because the contracts aren’t finalized and council members want specifics on the proposals before a vote, McNally and Bozanich said.

“Using JAC has been a benefit for the city,” Bozanich said. “They have the experience and they add consistent profitability to the [center] that most facilities like it do not get.”

The existing management contract has JAC receiving a $99,200 annual management fee. The deal also calls for the company to receive a 15 percent bonus at the center for operating surpluses that exceed $100,000 annually. JAC made a $50,277 bonus last year.

The new proposal to manage both facilities would start Jan. 1, 2018, and run through Dec. 31, 2022.

The other proposal is for JAC to handle food-and-beverage sales at the amphitheater and continue to do so at the center from Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2022. JAC makes between 3 percent and 6 percent of concession sales depending on how much is sold.

Eric Ryan, JAC chief executive officer, couldn’t be reached Monday by The Vindicator to comment.

The city owns the center and is spending $8 million to $9 million to construct an amphitheater and park along the Mahoning River from the South Avenue Bridge to just west of Hazel Street at the former Wean United Building. The 3,250-seat amphitheater will be on property that includes the former Wean site on South Phelps Street.

A contractor for the amphitheater is expected to be hired by Sept. 1 with the project’s start date set for Sept. 15. The completion date is May 1, 2018.

Also on Wednesday’s agenda is a resolution supporting the city’s borrowing $4 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds to help pay for the amphitheater and park project.

The money would be paid back over 20 years with an interest rate of 3.75 percent.

Meanwhile, council will consider legislation Wednesday to allow the board of control to sign a 10-year, 75-percent real-property tax abatement with Campus Associates LLC for the $2.23 million retail portion of the Enclave, its $16 million student-housing complex at Youngstown State University.

Campus Associates will later request an abatement for the residential portion of the project.

The tax abatement for the retail space would have the company pay $57,963 of the $231,853 in taxes that would be due over a 10-year period.

On June 5, council approved a $4 million, 12-month loan with a 0.25-percent interest rate and a $500,000 water-fund grant for the project. The board of control needs to finalize both.

The project will be at the corner of Lincoln and Wick avenues and is expected to be finished in August 2018 in time for next year’s fall semester.

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