Port Authority, Gateway deal proceeds

YOUNGSTOWN — The Northeast Ohio Development and Finance Authority, the economic development arm of the Western Reserve Port Authority, hopes to close on the purchase of the former Harshman building in downtown Youngstown by July 20.

Representatives of the agency made that announcement at a Port Authority meeting Wednesday.

The Port Authority, which gave permission for its legal counsel to negotiate the final terms of the agreemnt, will purchase the building at 101 E. Boardman St., for $350,000. The basement and first floor will be leased to Eastern Gateway Community College, which will turn the space into seven classrooms, three offices, and a wellness room.

erms of the deal are unavailable until the lease is signed. The college is set to vote Wednesday on approval of the lease.

Cortland Bank has said it will lend the Port Authority up to $800,000 to complete the purchase, as well as to make repairs and improve the entire facility. The bank also has indicated it would lend the Port Authority another $150,000 to renovate the building’s second floor once a tenant is secured.

Anthony Trevena, director of economic development for the Northeast Ohio Development and Finance Authority, said the Port Authority will issue $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds to cover the cost of the acquisition of the building and to repair the roof, which will cost $52,000.

The roof repair contract has been awarded to Youngstown-based Boak and Sons. As part of the building purchase, the Port Authority will receive a $40,000 credit as partial reimbursement for the roof repair.

Art Daly, interim vice president of Eastern Gateway’s Youngstown campus, said the Port Authority partnership came at a crucial time for the college.

“As our college continues to grow enrollment, we needed an economic partner that could help us expand into another building downtown,” said Daly. “This collaboration with them will allow us to expand our services to our students by offering classroom space for new programs.”

Trevena said the partnership can benefit the entire Valley.

“This will help in educating young people into the workforce,” Trevena said.

Western Reserve Port Authority executive director John Moliterno said the partnership is indicative of a change in perception of community colleges.

“Ten years ago, community colleges ran in competition with universities,” said Moliterno. “Now, they run in partnership. Community colleges are a growth industry, and this partnership is great.”