YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Progress is moving forward on a downtown renovation project, however, there are still some road bumps to overcome.

Thursday, the Board of Control voted to approve three ordinances related to 20 Federal Place. One was an amendment to approve up to $150,000 to provide security for the building.

The security is necessary at the building because there are still two tenants there, despite being passed the deadline for all tenants to move out.

Youngstown Law Director Jeff Limbian said of the two tenants still there, the city has an issue with one.

Limbian said the owner of the downtown Subway is refusing to leave the property. The owner is suing the city for breach of contract.

A civil suit was filed against the city of Youngstown by Chhaya Joshi, the listed franchisee of the Subway. In the complaint, Joshi states that she made improvements to the Subway located inside 20 Federal Place. This included “installing fixtures and equipment, signs, wall coverings and floor coverings.”

The complaint also states that Subway signed a five-year extension to its lease on September 13, 2021. This would extend its lease through November 30, 2026. However, in an answer to these claims, the city denies Subway notified the city that it would be extending the lease.

In July of 2022, Subway, along with all other tenants in the building, were given a notice that the city would be terminating its leases in order to prepare for construction on the renovation to 20 Federal Place.

“The city of Youngstown has and continues to breach the terms of the lease,” the complaint states.

Initially, Joshi requested $100,000 in punitive damages from the city but later withdrew that request.

Now, Joshi is requesting that the court order the city to do the following:

  • Extend its lease through November 2026
  • Pay compensatory damages in excess of $100,000 for damages and losses
  • Prohibit the city from terminating the lease
  • Prohibit the city from interfering with Subway’s use and enjoyment of the premises
  • Prohibit the city from using the premises during the term of lease
  • Pay for costs incurred during court proceedings
  • Pay any other appropriate relief the court deems fit

The city has made counterclaims against Joshi, claiming forcible entry & detainer.

Limbian says the matter went before Magistrate Timothy Welsh on Dec. 13, and they are now waiting on a decision.

First News made attempts to reach Joshi but was unsuccessful. Limbian said he could not comment on specifics about the lawsuit at this time.