BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – The company that owns the Southern Park Mall may be looking for some tax breaks and political changes as it proceeds in the redevelopment of the mall.
Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti has confirmed Washington Prime Group, which owns Southern Park Mall, is looking into a tax abatement to help pay for the $30 million in redevelopment that’s being planned.
What we don’t know yet are any details of the tax abatement — what the percentage would be or the length of it.
Rimedio-Righetti said the county met with Washington Prime officials. She called the discussions “very preliminary.”
“Everything was on the table but we, as commissioners, haven’t sat down and talked about anything yet.”
The commissioners are the ones who would decide on an abatement.
Boardman Schools Superintendent Tim Saxton said leaders with Washington Prime have expressed interest in a meeting with the school district.
As far as Saxton knows, this would be the first tax abatement ever granted to a business in Boardman.
“We all know that that mall is a big piece of property and if it goes dark, that’s not good for Boardman,” he said. “Sometimes you have to look at the big picture. I just saw their drawings. I think that could be good for the community. We want to be good neighbors and hear them out.”
At the same time, Boardman Township Administrator Jason Loree said Washington Prime is also looking at creating a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) with one of the municipalities around the mall — possibly Poland, Canfield, Youngstown, Campbell or Struthers.
It would require people working in the newly-developed area of the mall to pay an income tax — part of which would go to the municipality and part would help pay for the mall’s development.
By law, a township like Boardman can’t be involved directly. It must pair up with a village or city.
“We haven’t been contacted to kind of pursue that further at this point,” Loree said. “We just know that they’re interested and they’ve asked for a consideration on a JEDD. We’re still in talks, so anything’s possible.”
Matt Jurkowitz, vice president of development at Washington Prime, said all of this is ongoing.
“Washington Prime Group is working with a host of local partners to identify existing, publicly-available economic development tools that our project may be able to access and utilize. Discussions are preliminary and ongoing. Once a plan to use one or more of the available tools has the support of our local partners, we will jointly announce the details. We are encouraged by the direction of discussions to date and look forward to providing additional information.”
Washington Prime has also been working with the Western Reserve Port Authority and even Boardman Park, looking for whatever help it can.