YBI taking over Vindicator building

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown Business Incubator is expanding again.

Business incubator officials bought the original home of the Youngstown Vindicator on Vindicator Square. The purchase and renovations to the building will cost $6 million.

A $3 million grant from the federal government helped pay for the project, and an additional $2 million in state, federal and local grants will be used.

The acquisition marks the fifth building of YBI’s Tech Block campus. It is 57,000-square feet, which will allow additive manufacturing and 3-D printing start-up firms adequate space for growth, YBI Executive Director Jim Cossler said.

Former Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, who is now U.S. Assistant Secretary for Commerce, was on hand for Thursday’s announcement, as were a representative from Gov. John Kasich’s office and T. Sharon Woodberry,  Economic Development Director for the City of Youngstown.

While the funding for the renovations has been provided from the public sector, YBI borrowed the funding for the acquisition of the building through a Community Development Finance Institute, Village Capital Corporation (VCC) in Cleveland. VCC worked with the Raymond J. Wean Foundation in Warren, who provided the capital for the loan, according to a news release from the YBI.

Funding also has been secured from private sources for the pre-development phase of the project, including The Thomases Foundation through the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, The Crandall Foundation, The Youngstown Foundation, The Walter and Caroline Watson Foundation, The Fibus Family Foundation and The Burton D Morgan Foundation. Fundraising to offset the startup costs and portions of the project outside the scope of the existing grants will continue, with naming opportunities available throughout the campus, the release states.

Ralph Resnick, Founding Director of America Makes and President and CEO of the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, noted the importance of the facility to the continued growth of the additive manufacturing industry in northeast Ohio.

“By creating this unique asset, YBI has helped position Youngstown as a focal point for the supply chain development for additive manufacturing. There are great opportunities for creating new start- ups, as well as the expansion of the existing manufacturing base within the industry,” Resnick said.

Dr. Martin Abraham, Youngstown State University Interim Provost, discussed the importance of the project to the University.

“This facility creates a physical space that takes the YSU-YBI partnership to a whole new level. By having a site that is easily accessible to the local manufacturing community, we’ll be better able to work with them as they learn the complexities of advanced manufacturing, and develop additional programs to meet their needs,” he said.

Work is set to start on the building in August and should take around nine months. Staff at The Vindicator will move into their production building across the street, where they will continue to do business.

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