WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Nick Frankos, the owner of Warren’s Buena Vista Cafe & Sports Bar, can remember when the Delphi Packard plants just outside of his back door were busy.
Working alongside his father in the 1980s, he said his restaurant was packed — along with all of the neighboring businesses.
“We got the suits in for lunch to sit down here, and we delivered to the plants. It was great for everybody,” he said.
Today, the plants are relics — the rusted water tower, the smokeless stack, busted windows, the graffiti, with no signs of Delphi or Packard in sight.
But soon, these abandoned buildings could be buzzing with energy once again, with plans to bring back jobs to the facility.
Warren Community Development Director Mike Keyes has remained mum on the exact details of the proposal for the buildings, but he proudly boasted the number of jobs that the move is expected to create.
“I can tell you it’ll be manufacturing, and I will tell you his estimates of jobs are, it’s a nice number for the city of Warren,” he said.
Keyes confirmed that 200 to 300 jobs are expected for the first couple of years during the opening, and it is expected to grow from there.
“That number actually increases three or four times that over a 10-to 15-year period,” he said.
Keyes said the manufacturing involves hydraulics, though he would not give specifics about the company. He said he is hoping that the plan serves as a catalyst to bring other businesses to the area, in which the city has been working to clean up and develop through partnerships with the Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corporation, Team NEO and the Port Authority.
Frankos said he has heard a few details about the man who is proposing the project. He said he is a Western Reserve High School graduate, later confirmed by others in the city to be Christopher Alan, a Warren native who is now the CEO of the Los Angeles-based company — Auto Park It.
A source at the company also confirmed Alan is behind the project and that he is already in Warren preparing for an official announcement on Tuesday, Oct. 13.
Frankos said he is thrilled to hear the area may soon be cleaned up and developed.
“It has been a long time coming,” he said. “You take a ride in Warren, and you go down there, everything is gone now… Everybody says, ‘ You have a bad location. This was the greatest location 30 years ago.'”
Frankos said it goes to show that home is where the heart is.
“Thank God for a guy who’s from Warren, Ohio,” he said. “He’s a home-bred guy, and it just shows, Warren proud, bring it back here. And I’m sure he could have went anywhere in the country to build these things and he decided here.”