The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 22, 2013

Ashtabula BOE approves CRA for new business on Bridge St.

By SHELLEY TERRY - sterry@starbeacon.com
Staff Writer

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — Ashtabula Area City School Board voted Wednesday night to approve the 10-year tax abatement program application for Pigeon’s Landing LLC, of Youngstown, which plans to open a new wine bar/retail shop on Bridge Street.

Under the Community Reinvestment Area mandate program, Pigeon’s Landing property taxes will be covered 75 percent for 10 years.

The district stands to lose as much as $2,200 over the next decade in taxes. After the 10-year period, the company will pay yearly taxes to the school district.

“The board chose to approve this tax abatement because they believe in community growth and this is a great opportunity for this to happen,” Superintendent Patrick Colucci said.

The now-vacant building at 1023 Bridge St. will be transformed into a wine bar, retail shop on the first floor, and overnight accommodations on the second floor.

The owners, Debra Grim and Pamela Ferguson, hope to open in June 2014, employing three full-time and three to four part-time employees with an estimated payroll of about $100,000, according to the CRA application.

City Manager Jim Timonere said the two women were visiting the Ashtabula Harbor this past summer, “fell in love with the area,” and purchased the property. They plan to invest about $193,000 in the project,  according to the CRA application.

When contacted by phone Thursday afternoon, Grim said she was visiting her sister, who lives in the area, when she fell in love with Bridge Street.

“I said to my business partner, ‘Let’s open something and have our own little piece of Bridge Street,’” she said. “I’m so excited about it.”

Luciana Ratermann, the city’s director of planning and community development, said this project could not have come at a better time.

“I am very excited and feel this business will be a perfect fit for this location,” she said. “I am anxious to get this CRA agreement processed.”

Now that the school board approved the CRA application, it’s up to Ashtabula City Council to approve the agreement and then it must be recorded with the Ohio Development Services Agency prior to the start of any construction, Ratermann said.