SHARON, Pa. (WYTV) – After spending an hour with developer Jim Landino, he will convince most listeners that Sharon is a great place to open a business and live.
Landino’s can-do attitude is infectious, and he is backing it up with millions of dollars in investments.
Inside of what used to be the Buhl Armory, and later the Girl’s Club, Landino showed 27 First News one of the redevelopment projects he’s working on downtown.
“But this roof was collapsing. Had we not grabbed this three years ago, this building would have been laying on the ground,” Landino said.
Landino is 56-years-old. He’s from upstate New York and came to Sharon with Sunbelt Transformer in 1994.
“Biggest reason we came here–Buhl Park, quality of life.”
Eventually, Landino controlled Sunbelt Transformer and later sold it in 2014.
“Our plan really came, let’s face it, we got fully funded in 2014 and we were able to take the mission, what I refer to the mission, onto the next level,” Landino said.
The next level was buying properties. Landino owns over 50 in the Sharon area. His total investment is over $10 million.
“It is everything from vacant property that we picked up at tax sale to judicial sale property, to the Odd Fellows lodge, the old Virostick Moving and Storage building of 1886. We have the old Vocal Group Hall of Fame building,” Landino said.
He also owns the old Girl’s Club, which was built as an armory in 1908. Landino said the gym floor will stay, but the room will be divided.
“We think this, actually, sooner or later, will end up being pretty trendy and lofty offices,” he said.
The building will also have apartments with views overlooking downtown Sharon.
Across the street, Landino and his family live in the old Odd Fellows hall, which was built in 1922. Landino and his wife also run Lulu Beans Cafe next door.
With all of this, Landino admits he has become the spokesperson for Sharon.
“Self-proclaimed. Self-proclaimed spokesperson, and I think it’s because if I meet a young person on the street, or meet a young person at Lulu Beans, my radar kind of goes up,” he said.
Landino said the goal is to go at it strong for about 20 years, pay off the debt and make the properties income streams.
He also wants to incubate the youth into the business plan itself. Landino said he wants the younger generation to be successful and stay in Sharon.