YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A new Dunkin is coming to the corner of Market Street and Midlothian Boulevard. Some people loathe the loss of a historic building, but John Moliterno, executive director of the Western Reserve Port Authority, said they tried to find a tenant but weren’t able to, so they did the next best thing.
“What we did was we had numerous conversations with other businesses and non-profits, showed the building numerous times to entities throughout the Valley to try and encourage them to take this building,” he said.
After two years, no one bit. Moliterno said after seeing the inside of the building, many people realized it would take a lot of money to renovate the property.
“We offered to give the building,” he said. “We were trying to give the building to an entity to move in there, but it was simply too much money for all the people we showed it to.”
Moliterno said it’s an old bank building they acquired from Chemical Bank, who moved. He said it’s a great location and thinks what they are talking about doing with the property will fit in well with the community.
“That was an area that didn’t have a coffee shop,” he said “and so we thought this would fit because it would help that general area get something it doesn’t have right now.”
It wasn’t as if local officials just decided to take a building and demolish it. They spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to clean up the property and looked into what they could do to support the area that sits at the entrance to Boardman and Youngstown.
“What we did was we arrived at the fact that we needed to demoltion the building, which is going to be done,” Moliterno said.
A local man who lived down the street from the building when he was younger doesn’t want to see it go.
“It’s been here since 1957,” said Thomas Sheehan. “It’s very unique architecture was made to look like a cruise ship, and it has a lot of history, and I just hate to see everything being torn down in this town.”
The job of the port authority is to help the economy and bring jobs to the area. Dunkin alone would bring over 50, Moliterno said.
Sheehan said he would like to see a business make use of the existing building. He thinks the introduction of new business at the site is positive but doesn’t think a Dunkin is necessary, and he even admitted he drinks a lot of Dunkin. .
“There’s a vacant lot across the street. I just don’t see why this has to be done,” he said. “They could preserve a unique part of the Valley.”
A renovation into a restaurant or shops would be what Sheehan would like to see.
“It has two stories,” he said. “I think they could do a lot with it.”
Moliterno said they gave it their best shot to give the building away. The demolition will happen in a couple of weeks.
The second franchise that will occupy the building with Dunkin has yet to be locked down.
“The last thing we wanted to do was to just tear a building down that we would have another use for,” he said. “We simply found a case where we couldn’t find someone that would be a fit and because of the amount of money it was going to take to really get it into working condition.”
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