YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown City Council members could soon be asked to vote on taking over a piece of land on the north side that’s been sitting idle with little improvement over the better part of the last decade.
California businessman David Enayati says he’s got big plans for the old Bel-Park office complex on Belmont Avenue.
“This place is going to be the top of the restaurant in Youngstown. We’re going to open 24 hours a day, it’s going to be unbelievable,” he said.
The now empty building sits across from the main campus of St. Elizabeth Health Center. It’s been vacant for nearly a decade since Enayati purchased it.
He says he’s been wanting to build restaurants on the ground floor and office space above. Enayati says he’s been working on the project on and off for years, but apparently without all of the needed paperwork.
“There’s been outstanding violations of broken windows, windows that need boarded, boards that aren’t painted, trash and debris on the property, the grass and weeds on the property,” said Abby Beniston, Youngstown Code Enforcement director.
Lawyers for the city told members of the Youngstown Planning Commission Tuesday afternoon that Enayati has run out of time.
“Today the city is going to be exploring using ‘spot blight,’ which is eminent domain, to take the property and either put it to productive use or demolish it,” Beniston said.
However, Enayati claims that he already invested close to $2 million into the project, even mortgaging his home in Los Angeles, and just needs some financial help from the city to get it done.
“If they could do that, we’re gonna have 20 to 30 people working here, we’re gonna be a big income for the City of Youngstown. Sales tax, income tax,” he said.
Executives with the hospital claim the building has been deteriorating for some time with no signs of improvement, and is now little more than an eyesore.
Commission members agreed, recommending city council take over the property and give Enayati the fair market value for it.