20 Fed offers won’t be ready until December | News, Sports, Jobs

YOUNGSTOWN – Bids for a major remediation and partial demolition project at 20 Federal Place will not be ready until the end of the year as companies wishing to redevelop the city-owned building have not finalized their plans, said a city official.

Charles Shasho, the city’s deputy director of public works, said in a meeting Wednesday with officials interested in redeveloping the building that it was decided to go out to tender in December. The original plan was to get proposals for this work by October 31st.

“Demolition bids will be issued in December,” Shasho said. “They don’t have any plans yet.”

National Real Estate Development, a company with a portfolio of more than $1 billion of properties under development that has expressed “an interest in pursuing an investment” at 20 Federal Place, wants to change the direction of the project so that there have more housing in the building, the city said chief financial officer Kyle Miasek.

On August 15, the city signed a lease agreement with 20 Federal Place LLC for the building. This company was created by Desmone Architects, the Pittsburgh firm chosen by the city to redevelop the building, and the address of National Real Estate in Philadelphia is listed on the agreement.

A $6,962,250 provision under Ohio’s Brownfields Remediation Program the city received for 20 Federal Place requires that work be completed by June 30, 2023.

The city is providing $2.3 million in matching funds.

The delay came the same day the city council approved permission for the Board of Control to spend up to $800,000 for a construction manager to oversee the redevelopment project.

Requests for Qualifications for this work will be ready before bids are prepared for the remediation of asbestos and other hazardous materials and a partial demolition of the downtown building, Shasho said.

The total cost of the project is $74 million.

20 Federal Place LLC claimed up to $33.4 million in state and federal tax credits for the work.

The city purchased the 332,000 square foot building in November 2004 after Phar-Mor, a national retail store company, ceased operations. The property then took the name of Center Phar-Mor, the company’s head office. Prior to that, it was the flagship location of Strouss Department Store for decades, closing in 1986.

Also on Wednesday, the council voted in favor of a bill to allocate $200,000 of US bailout funds for economic development purposes on Mahoning Avenue, a main corridor on the city’s west side.

The legislation, sponsored by Councilman Mike Ray, D-4th Ward, authorizes the Board of Control to contract with the Western Reserve Port Authority for this work.

The money comes from the $14 million ARP stipend the city council gave its members — $2 million each — specifically for projects in the seven wards.

But Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, who is chairman of the Board of Control, has repeatedly said, including at Monday’s meeting of the council’s finance committee, that the council would not authorize spending proposed by the council if it and the other two members, Miasek and legal director Jeff Limbian, are uncomfortable that the orders are incomplete and do not follow federal guidelines for HRA money.

Ray said Wednesday that the board plans to have a meeting with the administration to address those issues.

“Compliance has to be met to ensure the money is spent properly,” he said.

The Council has approved approximately $1.2 million in member-sponsored neighborhood projects. To date, the board of control has authorized spending just $160,000 to buy a former McDonald’s restaurant at 2525 Market St. to turn it into a police substation.

dskolnick@vindy.com

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