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Business news briefs — March 19

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LOCAL BUSINESS

Anthony to add crematory

The Akron City Council approved plans this week for a crematory to be added to Anthony Funeral Homes, 1990 S. Main St.

The addition will involve no exterior changes besides a 3-foot-high roof stack. The crematory will emit no odor, soot or ash, David Anthony, owner of the funeral home, told council members.

Anthony said the crematory will be in a room on the side of the building that is away from surrounding homes. He said the industry is changing and there is enough demand for cremations to justify the addition. He said the funeral home has been relying on an outside company for its cremations.

“I think this is good for us and good for the neighborhood,” he said.

No residents objected to the plans during public hearings that the council held Monday.

REGIONAL BUSINESS

Youngstown project moving

Construction on an $81.6 million steel-pipe threading plant by a Vallourec Star sister company is expected to start next month in Youngstown.

The city’s board of control approved an agreement with a company called VAM USA LLC for the facility in the Ohio Works Business Park at the request of the company.

VAM USA’s co-owners Vallourec, Nippon Steel Sumitomo Metals Corp. and Sumitomo Corp. previously decided to approve the deal, Youngstown Finance Director David Bozanich said.

“They want to start right away” with construction, Mayor John A. McNally said. “This is good news for the city.”

The final deal worked out with the city calls for VAM to invest $81.6 million — it originally was $81.5 million — and hire about 80 workers to start. The number originally was 84.

VAM’s workers will pay about $79,750 annually to the city in income taxes, according to VAM’s tax-abatement application, which also lists annual payroll at $2.9 million.

About 150 to 200 construction workers are needed for this project, the city said.

The deal calls for VAM to get a 10-year, 75 percent real-property-tax abatement, a $369,000 water and wastewater grant for infrastructure and a retention pond to prevent flooding, and not requiring the company to pay water and wastewater tap-in fees and permits.

The company is paying $364,548 to the city for 27 acres owned by the city contiguous to where the VAM plant will be built. VAM spent $3.1 million to purchase 10 to 12 acres on Ohio Works Drive that includes the former Genmak Steel building and two vacant adjacent parcels.

MEDIA

News website updated

Nate Silver, the New York Times media blogger who jumped to ESPN last year, introduced his revamped website called FiveThirtyEight.com as more traditional media companies seek investments in online journalism.

Silver, 36, a statistician who correctly predicted how each state would vote in the 2012 presidential election, serves as editor of the site. It is to offer data-driven analysis of topics including sports, politics, technology and economics.

ESPN, the sports cable network controlled by Walt Disney Co., acquired Silver’s site in July, joining other media companies investing in online content, including NBC Universal’s backing of technology blog Re/code last year and Time Warner Inc.’s purchase of the sports site Bleacher Report in 2012. The deals are relatively small, adding digital platforms at a low cost, according to Ken Doctor, an analyst at Outsell Inc.

“It doesn’t take tens of millions to launch a credible news site. The Nate Silvers, Ezra Kleins and Kara Swishers all bring social capital — Twitter follower counts are a good proxy for that — and that’s worth money,” he said.

Klein, formerly of the Washington Post, who started a Vox Media news site. Swisher is the co-founder of Re/code, the rebranded technology and media blog previously known as AllThingsD.

WALL STREET

Dow Jones falls 114 points

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 114.02 points to 16,222.17. The Dow fell as much as 209 points before erasing some of its loss. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dropped 11.48 points to 1,860.77 and the Nasdaq composite lost 25.71 points to 4,307.60. The Federal Reserve voted to cut its monthly bond purchases from $65 billion to $55 billion, in line with what analysts were expecting.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.


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