YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s now called 20 Federal Place but many people still remember the building as the former Strouss store in downtown Youngstown.
The city owns the building and is trying to sell it. Earlier Thursday evening, city council listened to a proposal that could make the building, as one developer put it, the destination spot of Youngstown.
The plan for developing 20 Federal Place was presented to Youngstown City Council by Jim Ambrose of the Desmone Architects.
“We really view this building as the intersection of innovation, education and lifestyle,” he said.
The building is just steps from Central Square. Ambrose’s plan is to cut a hole from roof to ground in the center of the building to allow in more natural light. All of the building’s historical features will be preserved.
“The ground floor is going to feature a density of a produce stand, a bakery, a meat place. Almost think of a food hall concept you would see in West Side Market in Cleveland or Short North in Columbus,” Ambrose said.
There will also be an innovation center for budding entrepreneurs, large unit apartments and office space for companies looking to headquarter downtown. There are even plans for a rooftop restaurant.
“I think my favorite part of this development project is we’re going to dedicate an elevator bay specifically for anybody who wants to go up to the roof to have access to what is going to be an observation deck,” Ambrose said.
What Ambrose wants from city council is 60 days with total access to the building so he can fully see if what he’s proposing is viable.
Ambrose called the project financially challenged. Youngstown finance director Kyle Miasek says the city is hopeful it can get an $8 million demolition grant from the state.
“That along with the financial stacking will help alleviate some of the burden of trying to redevelop that property,” Miasek said.
City council will vote on giving Ambrose access at its meeting on December 1. No one on council voiced any objections at Thursday’s meeting.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, city council was presented with legislation that would allow for $7 million of American Rescue Plan money to be split evenly among Youngstown’s seven wards. Each council member would determine how it would be spent as long as it meets the qualifications and is approved by the rest of council. It too will be voted on come December 1.