The Wick Building, at 34 West Federal Street at North Phelps Street in Youngstown, Ohio, was completed in 1910. After being mostly vacant in the 2000’s, the tower was rehabilitated into market-rate apartments and extended stay units.

The Wick was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 8, 1980.


History

The Wick Building, styled in the Chicago School and Romanesque Revival styles, was designed by the renowned architect Daniel Burnham of the Chicago-based 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 derived from Youngstown native George Dennick Wick, a leading iron and steel manufacturer 4 and whose family were involved in banking and real estate interests. 5 The Wick opened for occupancy on April 1, 1910, 9 and was Youngstown’s tallest building until the completion of the Metropolitan Tower in 1929. 2

The tower home to the Wick Brothers Trust Company among 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

On March 15, 1944, the $350,000 mortgage on the Wick Building was fully paid off. 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 saught redevelopment proposals from private businesses to locate within the tower. 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 his 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 and Youngstown Wick Real Estate Partners 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 to renovate the building. 6 Frangos’ planned to convert the structure into upscale residential apartments or condominiums 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, the Great Recession led Frangos to decide on converting 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 A later plan came about to convert the Wick into 40 market-rateapartments. 1

Work began in 2013 to convert the Wick into 33 market-rate apartments and four overnight extended stay units. It reopened on November 9, 2015 15 as the Wick Tower.

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