WARREN, Pa. – Warren City Council approved a reallocation of state grant money originally earmarked for a boutique hotel during Monday’s meeting.
HIY, Inc., the owner of the riverfront property along the base of Liberty St., informed the city that they were unsuccessful in obtaining matching funding and told the city in an Aug. 9 email that they wished to terminate a pair of agreements with the city for funding dedicated for the hotel and subsequent parking which totaled $2 million.
“It’s our understanding that they will come back to the city with a new proposal if they are able to acquire matching funds in the future,” said City Manager Nancy Freenock.
Instead, those funds will now be allocated to other projects – $400,000 of which will go to Dewboi Properties for their proposed hotel on Liberty St., as well as $600,000 to the city for improvements to the fire station.
“This will aid in construction costs for completing the project in a timely manner,” Freenock said of the Liberty St. project. “It was necessary to adopt a new resolution.”
In addition, Freenock proposed to the council to apply for $5 million in additional Redevelopment Assitance Capital Program (RACP) money for continued renovation of the PNC Bank Building on the Corner of Liberty St. and Second Ave., as well as an additional $1 million on behalf of the Warren County Development Association.
“It’s been one problem after the another their to try and bring it back to life,” said Councilman Maurice Cashman. “But it’s a worthy project.”
Freenock said that these applications are often funded for much less and that she’s hoping to secure $1.5 million for the riverfront project.
For the PNC Building project, Freenock said that the money would go toward the continued renovation of the second and third floors to implement a workforce and community training center.
“It’s worth it, otherwise you’d just have a big vacant spot,” said Councilman Phil Gilbert.