Port authority advised not to sell building to non-aviation company

By Ed Runyan



Efforts by the Western Reserve Port Authority to sell the former air cargo building on the west side of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport recently hit a snag when a consultant advised against selling it to a non-aviation-related company.

John Moliterno, port authority executive director, said Thursday he would not identify the company that wants to buy the building, but it’s not aviation-related.

Moliterno said the port authority provided details of the offer to the Federal Aviation Administration about six months ago, but the FAA has not given a response on whether it supports the idea.

Celeste Boccieri-Werner, vice president of the Matrix Design Group, wrote a March 15 letter to the Trumbull County commissioners saying the proposed sale might hurt efforts to preserve the mission of the air base.

Matrix is conducting a joint land-use study at the air base funded by a grant obtained by the commissioners. The goal of the study is to promote development around the air base that is compatible with the mission of the base.

Boccieri-Werner’s letter says the sale would give a tenant without security credentials access to controlled areas of the airport and would present a “security concern for military operations” at the air base. Non-aviation tenants are not required to have FAA security credentials, she said.

The tenant would have “unobstructed views” of the air base and its activities, and purchasing the building would “eliminate the potential for use of the apron” by the air base, Boccieri-Werner’s letter says.

She added that use of the building by a non-aviation tenant “will impact the potential future capability of [the Youngstown Air Reserve Station] to grow or accept additional missions or aircraft.”

The 24,000-square-foot building was built decades ago in hopes of attracting an air-cargo company. The company also would have used an $11.5 million apron and the airport runways, but no company like that was ever found.

The apron was built next to the building with FAA money. The apron and most of the building are on secured airport property, but the entrance to the building is outside the fence and accessible from Ridge Road.

The port authority sold the building in 2009 to Millwood Inc. but later bought it back at the FAA’s request because Millwood was not an aviation-related company.

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