Youngstown Business Incubator planning expansion with $1.9 million grant


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown Business Incubator is receiving $1.9 million in federal funding for its expansion and upgrades.

Valley Congressman Tim Ryan, D-13, was joined by YBI CEO Barb Ewing for the big announcement on Thursday. You can watch the full press release above.

He said the money will help the Valley lead the way in additive manufacturing and create jobs for the future.

Ewing said the extra space in the former Vindicator building – now called Tech Block Building 5 – is needed for their facility, as it is filling up quickly.

Ewing said that about 80% of the building is currently being used, but the other 20% – or about 17,000 square feet – needs renovated before it can be used.

“Through this open corridor, which is really unused space at this point, we’ll be putting in a central work space,” Ewing said.

Zac DiVencenzo, who’s company JuggerBot 3D makes 3D printers said his company will expand from its current 32 square feet to 9,000 square feet after renovation.

“Which will give us the necessary space for increasing our capacity for production, continuing our research and development efforts and expanding our team,” DiVencenzo said.

The building also needs a new roof, a working freight elevator and facade improvements.

The total cost of all the renovations will cost about $2.3 million, which means YBI is still short about $400,000. According to a release from YBI, the federal funding will be matched with $475,795 in local funds.

It is expected to create or retain nearly 70 jobs and generate $4.5 million in private investment.

Congressman Ryan called Thursday’s announcement a good thing.

“This is a huge shot in the art to continue, not just to build around advanced manufacturing and the jobs of the future, that are actually the jobs now, but it’s also a big shot in the arm to downtown Youngstown as we continue to build out the quality of life and really freshen up the downtown,” Ryan said.

Ewing said she hopes to have construction started by the end of the year and completed in about 18 months.

Ewing said YBI is already thinking about the next expansion, and that it could be a new or an existing building.

“We’re trying to manifest miracles here. So we’ve had a number of conversations with private developers to see if we could attract some private funding to come in to do another project,” Ewing said.

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