By Chad Torres
The Enclave Student Housing project will add retail and economic influence to the Youngstown area.
The City of Youngstown has approved a $4 million loan to Levey Realty Company (LRC) for the completion of the Enclave student housing project currently under construction next to the Lincoln Building.
LRC Special Projects Director Gary O’Nesti said the company worked with the city for funding the project.
“There are a number of public funding standards the city has in place to assist with economic development. There are different funding options like a sewer aid or tax abatement; we applied for everything that fit,” O’Nesti said.
O’Nesti said the Enclave will be a student housing complex, meaning it will be only available for students at Youngstown State University.
The student housing complex will feature more than 11,000 square feet of retail space and about 100,000 square feet of student housing space.
O’Nesti said the retail tenants were not set, and it would take time before the negotiations with them would be complete.
“We’re looking at student services, food or restaurants, some telecommunications, even some health tenants. Nothing is set. What you have to understand is that something like this takes time,” O’Nesti said.
O’Nesti said the city may provide funding for projects similar to the Enclave and the income it brings to Youngstown and YSU.
“[Students] directly look for things to do in the downtown area; they’re looking to eat, looking business, something this complex provides. That’s why the city recognizes these economic benefits,” O’Nesti said.
Evan Mellone is the vice president of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) at YSU.
Mellone said he had discussed projects similar to the Enclave through either the student organization or his courses in Williamson College of Business Administration.
“I think having students actually in Youngstown is beneficial instead of [them] commuting or in the dorms,” said Mellone.
Mellone said in his view, there’s a difference between living in the residence halls on campus and living in a housing complex.
“You can walk downtown [when in a housing complex], but in the dorms, you have your dorms’ friends and you just go back to the dorms; apartments have a more college environment,” said Mellone.
Mellone said he felt the retail section of the Enclave would be beneficial for Youngstown because of the students shopping there.
Mellone also said that the economic aid the city offers is warranted for projects similar to the Enclave.
“It’s building a community of Youngstown students in Youngstown. It’s a five-minute walk to downtown, that’s going to help downtown too; [$]4 million is a lot, but it’s going to add back to the community eventually,” said Mellone.
Tyler Richter, a WCBA student and current president of the Society of Collegiate Leadership, said he has been following the Enclave project and had prior knowledge of housing complexes.
“I think it means advancement by bringing in [more] YSU students to the Youngstown area,” Richter said.
Richter shared his view on how revenue could be generated from the Enclave and other student housing projects similar to it.
“It pulls more people to YSU. That’s taxes for Youngstown. It is beneficial, especially for YSU, because of the business [student housing projects] brings in. YSU is technically the city’s largest business,” said Richter.
Richter also said it may not have as great an effect on the city compared to YSU. He said it may not be best for the city to pay for projects similar to the Enclave if the benefits are not apparent.