Meeting on 20 Federal Sale Draws Single Attendee

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- Slim attendance at a pre-proposal meeting to provide information about 20 Federal Place, which the city wants to sell for $2 million, isn’t necessarily an indicator of potential interest in the building, the city’s finance director says. 

Just one party – the Youngstown Central Area Community Improvement Corp. – sent a representative to the informational meeting Tuesday morning. Interested parties have until noon June 6 to submit development proposals for the eight-story building.

The former headquarters of the defunct Phar-Mor Inc. retail chain and prior to that the downtown Strouss department store, the building was acquired by the city to prevent it from being boarded up, the city’s finance director, David Bozanich, said. Since the city acquired the building about a decade ago, occupancy has been increased from around 10% to about 75% occupancy.

“Our intent is to create an environment where the jobs stay in the building,” Bozanich said.   

T. Sharon Woodberry, city economic development director, and Sean McKinney, building and grounds commissioner, also attended Tuesday’s meeting.

The CIC’s interest and concern regarding 20 Federal Place is due to its proximity to the CIC’s own properties downtown, said Dave Kosec, project manager. The CIC’s properties include the George V. Voinovich Government Center and the Seventh District Court of Appeals building.

VXI Global Solutions, which began operating in the building in 2009, now encompasses the entire fourth and fifth floors of the building, and last year took space on the second and established a recruitment center on the building’s first floor. VXI’s five-year lease for space expires later this year but “we think if anything they’re going to take a whole bunch more space,” Bozanich said.

In fact, the company might be interested in acquiring the building or partnering with a local company on ownership of the property, he added. He wasn’t concerned that the company did not have a representative at Tuesday’s meeting due to knowledge of the building as a current tenant.

The city will also continue to lease space on a month-to-month basis in the building until it makes decisions regarding the municipal courts. The City Hall Annex has been discussed as a potential location for the courts, which would open space in City Hall. The city’s economic development and building departments are located in 20 Federal Place now.

Copyright 2014 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.
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