Downtown Youngstown

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Downtown's Central Square (Federal Plaza) from the east.

Downtown Youngstown is the traditional center of the city of Youngstown, Ohio, United States. After decades of precipitous decline, the downtown area shows signs of renewal. Civic leaders have expressed hope that the district will emerge as a significant arts and entertainment district within the Youngstown-Warren metropolitan area.

Downtown Youngstown is the site of most of the city's government buildings and banks. A number of entertainment venues are also located in the downtown, including the Covelli Centre, Powers Auditorium (the original Warner Bros. Theatre), the DeYor Performing Arts Center, and Oakland Centers for the Performing Arts. In addition, the downtown sits to the immediate south of notable cultural and educational resources, including Youngstown State University, the Butler Institute of American Art, and the McDonough Museum of Contemporary Art.


In line with national trends, Youngstown's traditional downtown area fell into steep decline in the 1970s and early 1980s. This downward trend was exacerbated by factors including the opening of shopping malls in neighboring communities. These included the Southern Park Mall, in the suburb of Boardman, and Eastwood Mall, in nearby Niles. Other contributing developments were the collapse of the local steel industry and depopulation of the center city.

Amid the departure of retail businesses along the main thoroughfare of West Federal Street, municipal officials made an ill-fated decision to close the street to vehicle traffic in order to build a pedestrian-oriented shopping area. While this project was in line with urban renewal efforts around the country, it merely furthered the decline of the downtown area. By the mid-1980s, most of the downtown area's department stores and movie theaters had closed up. Meanwhile, the city's car dealerships relocated in the suburbs. By the early 1990s, the downtown had become a stark symbol of the community's economic decline.


Federal Street in downtown, 2005

In the early 2000s, municipal officials took steps to reverse Youngstown's economic difficulties. They presented a citywide redevelopment plan known as Youngstown 2010. One of the plan's primary goals was to facilitate the revival of the downtown area. One of the municipal government's first steps was to re-open West Federal Street to traffic, a project that was completed in early 2005.

While the city has been less successful in drawing large retail businesses back to the downtown, many older buildings are being refurbished for smaller businesses, while others have been razed to make way for new buildings. Chief among the smaller businesses that have opened in the downtown are upscale bars and restaurants. In addition, the downtown is currently the site of the Covelli Centre, which has given Youngstown a professional hockey team, and formerly an Arena Football League 2 franchise. At first the Covelli Centre was running at a loss, however it has been consistently profitable for several years as of 2016.

Economy of Downtown Youngstown[edit]

Downtown's economy largely depends on companies whose offices are located in the area and the university, although the opening of the Covelli Centre has recently given rise to new economic opportunities.

Youngstown State University is the largest employer in the city, and the headquarters of Home Savings and Loan is also located downtown. Other companies with offices downtown include JPMorgan Chase, FNB Corporation, Huntington Bancshares, KeyBank, PNC Bank, InfoCision, The Vindicator, and The Youngstown Business Incubator. The United States Postal Service has a large branch located in downtown that is a large employer.

The Youngstown Business Incubator houses several small, (B2B Software) technological companies that have been attracting attention throughout NE Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. [1] The Incubator occupies one historic building, and the newly the construction of the Taft Technology Center next door. The incubator has been expanding as of 2016-2017, converting the old vindicator building.

While the downtown's economic difficulties remains evident, the district has become the site of many smaller businesses that have drawn residents from within the city and from neighboring suburban communities. These businesses include bars, restaurants, and coffee shops such as The Draught House, Imbibe, Charley Staple's Bar-B-Que, Rust Belt Brewery, One Hot Cookie, Joe Maxx, Stone Fruit Espresso Bar, Suzie's Dogs and Drafts, The Federal, V2 Wine Bar and Roberto's.

The old Stambaugh building, which once housed the Youngstown Sheet and Tube headquarters is being renovated into a 4 star Double Tree by Hilton hotel. It is set to open in 2018, along with a riverfront park and ampitheatre. Another recent development is the conversion of the Downtown Circle convenience store into a full service grocery. The grocery will serve a vital need in the downtown area as more properties are being converted into apartments.

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Coordinates: 41°6′N 80°39′W / 41.100°N 80.650°W / 41.100; -80.650