YOUNGSTOWN — Annissa Neider, an architect working for the new owners of Huntington Bank’s downtown tower, 26 Market St., discussed plans for converting the top nine floors of the building into homes.
“It would imply that the first four floors remain commercial office space very similar to what is now, and then the last nine floors become residential space,” she said by videoconference with the design review board. from the city. Neider’s business is in Canfield.
Asked about the new owner, Neider said it was a New York development company known as “22 Market Street Ohio LLC.”
Neider said she doesn’t know which potential commercial tenants might move into the first five floors, including areas previously occupied by Huntington Bank. “I’m just asking for the change of use of the building,” she said.
“It’s just a change of use from commercial use to mixed use,” she said.
She noted that the building was designed by renowned Detroit architect Albert Kahn with the original part built in 1920 and the second part in 1921.
“The interior of the building still has a very historic feel, with marble floors, marble paneling, much of the original oak trim, original oak doors,” she said. , noting that “this all needs to be nurtured.
“The hallways (in the building) will regain their historic charm…the hallways remaining historic,” she said. Residential units and office spaces would be “upgraded for modern uses”, she said.
The cleaning of the building that will take place will involve “appropriate historical processes”, she said.
Speaking of the residential floors, she said they will be suitable “for the young professional or even the empty nest.” But she added: “It’s open to anyone who wants to live downtown.”
Each floor will have three two-bedroom units, four one-bedroom units and a studio. “Each unit has a full kitchen, bathroom, living space, and then obviously a bedroom and a closet,” she said.
The residential units will be “around a central hallway, using the same historic openings to enter each unit,” she said. It should have about 72 residential units.
“We are only in the early stages of planning and development,” she said. “We are still doing a lot of field investigations. No demolition work has yet taken place, so there is a lot of exploratory demolition to be done throughout the process,” she said.
Water sprinklers will be installed throughout the building to meet building codes. There is no information to provide on the appearance of the commercial floor designs, she said.
“Right now, we’re just focusing on residential units and any historic architecture in the hallways, and bringing the building up to code,” she said.
She said no changes were planned for the exterior other than “potentially a bit of cleaning”. We’re just going to breathe some life into this building.
The historical consultants the owners work with are “very focused on this first floor… where the bank lobby once was. It’s such a beautiful space and it should be preserved as such,” Neider said.
A former church on Boardman Street is part of the Huntington Bank building and will be marketed as commercial space, she said.
Jonathan Imler, a member of the design review board, asked if a feasibility study had been done regarding the demand for additional downtown housing or resident parking plans.
Neider said she assumed the owners “did due diligence,” but she can’t comment on what the company investigated.
Councilor Julius Oliver commented on the project saying, “We know that downtown is increasingly becoming a place where people want to come and do business and live.
He said that in 2015 the downtown slogan was “‘work, play, eat’, and now we can call it ‘work, play, eat, live’ because more and more people want to live downtown”. He said he was looking forward to seeing the project grow.
Committee member Bill D’Avignon said there was no “action” for the committee to take regarding the project. But the committee approved a “general motion of support for the approach that is proposed” for the project.
The committee also gave approval to install an air conditioning condenser on or along the North Phelps Street side of the Wick Tower, 34 W. Federal St., downtown.
Its purpose is to increase the cooling capacity of the West 34 restaurant and bar on the first floor. The restaurant had to close about two weeks ago because the temperature was too high, one of the business’s two owners told the committee via video link.
Final committee approval is dependent on Clayton Heating and Air Conditioning reporting drawings to the city’s Planning and Economic Development Department showing unit location, color and other details.
Richard Kaszlowski, owner of 34 West, told the committee that the condenser, which will be about 4 feet by 4 feet by 1 foot, is needed to provide better cooling during the summer. An air conditioning condenser releases heat from the cooling system.
There was talk of painting the unit a reddish brown to blend in with the color of the brick exterior.
Calvin Clayton of Clayton Heating and Air Conditioning, said the county’s building department said the unit would have to go through the design review board to get approval to make it as attractive as possible. There is a fenced area outside the building where the unit could go, Clayton said.