YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Youngstown City Council’s Community Planning and Economic Development Committee Tuesday evening plotted the path for the renovation and future sale of the city-owned 20 Federal Place downtown.

The historic Strouss building was built in 1926. The committee will send to council an ordinance extending a Memorandum of Understanding through the end of the year to the Desmone Group of Pittsburgh to continue working on the project.

It urged the administration of Mayor Tito Brown to pursue a lease with the newly formed 20 Federal Place, LLC, so that additional grants and tax credits can be pursued, and it requested the administration work to find new space to house the 20 or so businesses recently told to vacate the building. There was some serious debate.

Brown Tuesday evening told city council he supports the renovation and sale of 20 Federal Place.

“This may be one of those out-of-the-park home runs that we hit,” said Brown.

But the mayor’s concerned about agreeing to a lease with the newly formed 20 Federal Place, LLC, that doesn’t protect the city’s interest.

“I have public funds that have been allocated to the city of Youngstown, and as mayor, my job is to make sure legally that we have an out clause that works for us,” said Brown.

Another issue is the lease by law must be for at least 39 years.

“Because the city owns the property you have to have a long-term lease to be able to qualify for the tax credit,” said Jim Ambrose.

Ambrose represented Pittsburgh’s Desmone Group and the newly formed 20 Federal Place, LLC, the latter of which was needed to pursue the tax credits and grants.

“We are completely open and amendable to whatever terms the city of Youngstown would want. We just have to know what those are,” said Ambrose.

Assistant Law Director Lou D’Apolito agreed.

“We’re thrilled to meet with Mr. Ambrose and their team. Let’s sit down and let’s see what we can work out,” said D’Apolito.

Ambrose also announced the Philadelphia-based National Real Estate Development Company has agreed if all the tax credits and grants are awarded, National Real Estate will invest $26 million into the project and own the building when it’s complete.

To that councilwoman Lauren McNally said, “I think that’s a great deal.”

Councilman Julius Oliver had issues with letters sent Monday to the tenants of 20 Federal Place giving them 60 days to vacate. Oliver said that wasn’t the plan.

“We were supposed to meet with a group in the morning. We were supposed to meet with another group in the evening and go over how we were going to go about emptying out the building,” said Oliver.

Youngstown Finance Director Kyle Miasek said when Youngstown was awarded a $6.9 million state Brownfield Grant it put the city on a strict timetable to spend the money.

“And if we don’t spend those funds we could see this entire project potentially unravel,” said Miasek.

Miasek added the city administration does understand the plight of the businesses that need to vacate 20 Federal Place and the administration will do its best to get them re-located elsewhere.