Wick Building

Commercial / Ohio

The Wick Building is a formerly disused commercial building in downtown Youngstown, Ohio. It has been rehabilitated into market-rate apartments and extended stay units.


History

The Wick Building was designed in the Chicago School and Romanesque Revival architectural styles by Daniel Burnham of the D.H. Burnham & Company. 14 The 13-story, 184-foot tall building was built between 1906 and 1910 2 4 5 of steel from the Cambria Steel Company of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 5 faced with red brick, and decorated with terracotta. The design complemented the earlier Federal Building across Phelps Street. 14 Financing was derived from Youngstown native George Dennick Wick, a leading iron and steel manufacturer 4 and whose family was involved in banking and real estate interests. 5

The Wick was ready for occupancy on April 1, 1910. 9 It was the city’s tallest building until the completion of the Metropolitan Tower in 1929. 2

The building was home to the Wick Brothers Trust Company and other Wick family enterprises. 5 Wick Brothers later became the City Trust and Savings Bank, who rented offices to various tenants on the upper levels. 10

Burdman Bros, Inc. purchased the Wick Building for $230,000 in 1969. 8 The company invested more than $1 million from 1988 to 1993 for mechanic and interior renovations in anticipation of selling the building to Phar-Mor Inc. When a scandal plagued Phar-Mor, Burdman looked for other options.

In December 1993, Burdman agreed to donate the Wick Building and a parking lot to the city as gifts. 8 12 With the occupancy rate hovering at 40%, the city sought redevelopment proposals from private businesses. The city proposed to offer the building and its 50,000 square feet of space to a developer with the goal of adding 100 jobs to downtown.

Stop 26 Riverbend Inc. attempted to purchase the Wick from the city for $50,000 in 1996. 12 The company’s president, Attorney Percy Squire, grew frustrated when the city rejected its advances, especially after Mayor George M. McKelvey took office in January 1998. Squire noted that the building was appraised at $350,000 and needed repairs and ongoing maintenance.

In October 1998, it was uncovered that the city did not have a definitive list of current tenants and the terms of their leases and that some tenants owned thousands of dollars in unpaid rent. 12 The building also required more than $200,000 in repairs, including $30,000 to the roof, $40,000 to the cooling system, and repairs to one of its two operating elevators. A new motor for the manually operated lift would cost $70,000, whereas replacing the elevator with an automated model would cost $125,000.

Despite the downturn in Youngstown’s economy, the occupancy of the Wick had risen to 72% by 2005. The occupancy rate was helped by the relocation of several city departments, such as the economic development office, to the building. Other tenants included WRPB-FM, WGFT-AM, Youngstown Convocation Center, Henderson, Covington, Messenger, Newman & Thomas Co., L.P.A., and Superior Chemical. The Youngstown police street crimes unit moved into their offices in November 2003, and a nightclub operated on the ground floor in 2004 in a space that was a women’s clothing store. 11

The city had been in discussions with Squire to sell the building when an unsolicited offer for the Wick was made by Lou Frangos, a Cleveland, Ohio developer. 1 13

Squire operated the two radio stations from the Wick and wanted to spend up to $211,000 in improvements to the structure to add modern elevators and update the mechanicals. 6 Frangos’ planned to convert the structure into upscale residential units 3 13 at the cost of $13 million. 13

Frangos sealed the deal for the Wick on May 20, 2005, for $125,000. 1 13

Renovation work on the Wick was scheduled to begin in late 2006, but the Great Recession led Frangos to decide to convert the building into student housing for Youngstown State University. Frangos had difficulty in securing financing and the project never advanced. 7

Rehabilitation

On August 24, 2012, Frangos sold the Wick to Dominic Marchionda of the NYO Property Group for $150,000. 1 Marchionda’s initial plan was to convert the Wick into a boutique hotel, which would be the first hotel in the city since the Wick-Pollock Inn closed in 1998 and the first in downtown since the 1970’s when the Voyager closed. 7 The plan was later modified to convert the Wick into 40 market-rate apartments. 1

Renovations to convert the Wick into 33 apartments and four extended stay units began in 2013. The building reopened on November 9, 2015 15 as the Wick Tower.


Gallery

Rehabilitation


Sources