Port authority hopes to help out Fort Steuben Mall

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County Port Authority is hoping to assist the leasing agent for the Fort Steuben Mall by providing marketing materials and support about the county.

Evan Scurti, port authority executive director, said he recently had a good meeting with representatives of Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. He said he wants to have an information packet available for the firm as it meets with various professional clients interested in space at the mall. He said even though the mall is banked owned out of receivership, it is being actively marketed for future use. The mall’s former Macy’s store space will be up for auction later this month in an online bidding process.

In other matters, JobsOhio gave Scurti final notification of a grant for $215,000 for repaving Commercial Avenue in front of the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. main mill entrance off state Route 7 in Mingo Junction. The grant is part of a total $645,000 estimated project, with any costs beyond the grants to be picked up by the village, Scurti said. He said the work involves three grants.

“It started in October. It takes time to assemble the funds, but I had a good feeling about it from the beginning. It’s a strong growth area and there is a lot of new capital investment, so we worked it out with various agencies,” he said. Scurti said a similar program could be used for TIMET in Toronto if road repair issues are needed. He thanked the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission for developing estimates for the application and said the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association will be involved throughout the contracting process.

The board approved Scurti progressing with an application for a $100,000 grant for an underground storage tank removal at the Ohio Motor Group site on state Route 7 across from the Pilot truck stop at the south end of Third Street.

The tank removal is eligible for a state abandoned gas station site program grant. The board approved proceeding with the work and an agreement for access to the site from Ohio Motor Group. Scurti said the port authority is indemnified against costs over the amount of the grant if issues arise during the project. The hope is to get the site ready for redevelopment.

Scurti said he has been receiving calls about a development site in the North End that could become a site for light industry. He said he is meeting with City Manager Jim Mavromatis, City Engineer Michael Dolak and Urban Projects Director Chris Petrossi in early June.

A move to have Yorkville included in the county enterprise zone is set to be discussed at the June 5 Yorkville Council meeting, Scurti reported.

The port board is sending out investor renewal letters and letters to potential new investors.

A June 20 real estate networking event has been put together by Scurti to bring local brokers together with Pittsburgh-area real estate firms. The event will be held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

(Giannamore can be contacted at pgiannamore@heraldstaronline.com.)