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Youngstown’s century-old Federal Building up for auction


Published: Wed, September 30, 2009 @ 12:06 a.m.

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The Federal Building in downtown Youngstown

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FEDERAL BUILDING FOR SALE: Attorney Robert Melnick, owner of the 107-year-old Federal Building in downtown Youngstown, is putting the structure up for sale at an auction. The building’s been in his family for 30 years.

The minimum bid for the building is $90,000, but it’s valued at $147,300.

By David Skolnick

YOUNGSTOWN — The owner of the 107-year-old Federal Building is putting it up for auction Oct. 20.

The four-story building in downtown Youngstown has been in Atty. Robert Melnick’s family for 30 years. Melnick owns the property through his Arjon Realty Co. business. The building is on the northwest corner of West Federal and North Phelps streets downtown.

Melnick, whose law office is on the building’s third floor, said that “it’s a good time” to sell the structure.

“There is more downtown activity than I’ve seen in 20 years,” Melnick said.

The building can be purchased before the auction for $150,000. The auction at the building on 100 W. Federal St. is at 11 a.m. Oct. 20.

While there have been calls from those interested in the building, there are no takers, Melnick said.

If the building is auctioned, the minimum bid needed to buy it is $90,000, said Paul Basinger, broker and owner of American Real Estate Specialists, the North Lima company handling the Federal Building auction.

Ten percent of the contract price must be paid at the auction, Basinger said. The rest must be paid at closing in about 45 days. But Melnick would allow the money to be paid, with 7 percent interest, over a period of 5 years to qualified buyers.

Under the right circumstances, Melnick said he’d be willing to enter into a partnership agreement to share ownership of the building.

The Mahoning County auditor’s Web site has the 5,720-square-foot building’s market value at $147,300.

The Federal Building is on prime downtown property, said Bill D’Avignon, the city’s community development agency director.

“I’m kind of wishing I was sitting on $150,000,” he said. “It’s a good-sized building. At that price, it’s awfully attractive.”

The upper floor houses American Maintenance, a wholesale janitorial supply business.

Melnick’s law firm and Vince’s Jewelry Repairs are on the third floor.

The second floor is vacant.

The ground floor includes Baskets by Denny, Geo’s music store, Bob Barko Jr.’s Steel Town Studios, Ado’s Alterations, and Art Youngstown. A guitar-repair store is moving into a vacant portion shortly, Melnick said.

The only ground-floor vacancy is the corner one. Maynestream Productions left that location a few months ago.

A couple of businesses have expressed interest in that space, Melnick said.

D’Avignon said he has some concern that someone from out of the area would buy the building as a long-term investment and not make good use of it.

If Federal is sold or a partner is brought in, Melnick said he doesn’t think there will be significant changes to the building.

As for the building’s name, it’s called the Federal Building — it even has a sign on its corner — because it used to house the former Federal Savings and Loan Bank when it first opened.

“People come in here thinking they are at federal court,” Melnick said.


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