YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology will go from being a tenant of it downtown building to being its owner by the end of the year.
The purchase will give the downtown science museum the ability to better determine its own destiny, museum officials say, and eventually enable it to move the entrance to Market Street with a bus drop-off area as depicted in a proposed rendering above.
Oh Wow will sign paperwork Dec. 16 to take ownership of the McCrory building from its current owner, First National Bank, Suzanne Barbati, Oh Wow president and executive director, reported Friday.
“We’re very excited,” she says.
Spurred by a change in banking regulations, Oh Wow! began looking at buying the building in early 2018. When museum founders initially identified the McCrory building space in 2009, FNB offered “a pretty significant discount” on the market rate for the space for the first seven years of its operation, though 2017, according to Barbati.
“Specifically, it made it possible for us to operate in the black,” she explains. In the intervening years, those regulations changed so that FNB would not longer be able to offer that “level of forgiveness,” which would have more than doubled Oh Wow’s rent.
After conducting due diligence and meeting with accountants, attorneys and FNB leadership, purchasing the building outright made more sense, Barbati says.
“We’ve already put $2.5…