Cafaro to move HQ

NILES – Cafaro Company expects within the next 24 months to move its corporate headquarters out of the Youngstown building where it has operated for 53 years and is considering a relocation to the company-owned Eastwood Mall property in Niles.

Cafaro Company spokesman Joe Bell confirmed Tuesday the real estate giant based in the Mahoning Valley plans to move its 188 employees from 2445 Belmont Ave., Youngstown.

“We are anticipating in the next 24 months, we are going to be moving out of our corporate offices in Youngstown, and we are in discussions with the city of Niles as one option,” Bell said. He did not indicate what other possible locations the company is considering, but acknowledged it would be preferable for the company to base its operations at the property that also houses its flagship mall property in Niles.

The company on Tuesday submitted plans to the Niles Building Department outlining demolition to a northeast section of Eastwood Mall near the construction site of the new Residence Inn by Marriott hotel.

Bell confirmed the demolition plans were filed to tear down a portion of the mall in anticipation of new construction that could include one of two options, including the possibility of construction of new Cafaro corporate offices there. The other option, he said, could instead mean further expansion of the planned banquet center being built along with the new hotel along with offices to be leased to a third party. The $14 million hotel and banquet center has been under construction since May 2012 and is expected to be complete in coming months.

Niles Mayor Ralph Infante, reached late Tuesday, said 188 new corporate jobs in his city would be a welcomed addition.

“That would be great. I hope it comes true,” Infante said. “It hasn’t been confirmed, though. I will be waiting for an announcement.”

An after-hours message left for Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone was not immediately returned.

Bell said the company is anticipating a move from Youngstown largely because of the building’s age and condition.

“It is a very old building by today’s standards. It doesn’t meet our needs. It’s not energy efficient; it had to be retrofitted for technology,” Bell said.

He denied a company move from Mahoning County has any connection to Mahoning County’s decision to move the Department of Job and Family Services from a Cafaro-owned property to a downtown building purchased by the county in past years and subsequent legal battles related to the move.

“That’s not a primary consideration,” Bell said.

Cafaro Company is among the nation’s largest privately-held real estate development firms with more than 30-million square feet of property in 11 states.