Former SCOPE center to be winery

Development group becomes building’s owner

Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple Warren native and entrepreneur Mark Marvin, president of Downtown Development Group LLC, talks about the view of Courthouse Square from the former SCOPE Center on West Market Street during a presentation Thursday. Marvin officially became the building’s owner Thursday, and he said the center will be turned into a winery.

WARREN — A new place where customers will be able to sit and drink fine wines, have hors d’oeuvres and sandwiches and visit with friends while sitting with an overview of the Mahoning River, Warren’s amphitheater and Courthouse Square is expected to open inside the former Warren SCOPE building in the fall.

Mark Marvin, whose company, Downtown Development Group LLC, is in the process of remaking the downtown, signed the final paperwork Thursday to purchase the property from the city.

The winery is expected to frame Courthouse Square to the west and the Robins Theatre on Market Street will bookend it on the east.

Marvin purchased the SCOPE building for $216,000 through a program that began last year in which the city is marketing seven city-owned properties through the Western Reserve Port Authority.

“The partnership with the Port Authority is the first of its kind in the Valley,” Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said. “We hope this is the first of many projects with the Port.”

Franklin said it is appropriate the announcement of the renovation of the Robins Theatre and this new use of the former SCOPE Senior Center occurred during the same week.

“Both projects complement our downtown,” he said. “The square itself is really doing well with a nice mixture of retail, entertainment and offices.”

John Moliterno, executive director of the Western Reserve Port Authority, said the agreement between the city and his organization is bringing jobs and vitality.

“Warren and its city council have been very easy to work with,” Moliterno said. “We’re pleased to see this come to fruition.”

Marvin is expected to invest another $100,000 in the renovation of the SCOPE site, including replacing the windows on its east side walls to maximize customers’ views of the Mahoning River.

“We are going to put in a new patio and new fencing next to river bank,” Marvin said.

Downtown Development Group will do significant landscaping, including the removal of some trees and lowering the height of others. The goal is to maximize the visual appeal of the building, Marvin said.

While Downtown Development Group will own the building, another partnership, which has not been identified, is expected to operate the winery.

Marvin has a letter of intent from the owner of the company interested in leasing the building.

“They will sign a 10-year lease,” he said.

Marvin would not provide the name of the company, nor the expected name of the winery, because the contract between his company and its owners could not be finalized because Marvin did not own the site until Thursday afternoon.

“The partners have experience operating wineries outside of Ohio,” Marvin said. “This will be more of a winery than a restaurant, although it will have the capability to cater events and hold weddings and other programs at the building.”