Work at the Wick Building will begin by Aug. 1
By David Skolnick
A project — with an estimated budget of $16.5 million — to convert the vacant Wick Building into a 52-unit rental and extended-stay living facility will begin by Aug. 1.
The project will take 12 to 14 months to complete, said Dominic Marchionda, managing member of the NYO Property Group, which owns several major downtown buildings including the 13-story Wick Building at 34 W. Federal St.
NYO doesn’t have a choice as to starting by Aug. 1 because if it doesn’t, it will lose the $3,667,500 it received in federal and state tax credits for the project.
The first phase of the project is to abate hazardous materials from the 103-year-old building, Marchionda said.
“We’re looking forward to getting it started and having another successful project downtown,” he said.
Among other NYO downtown buildings are Realty Tower Apartments, the Metropolitan Savings and Loan Building, the Stambaugh Building, Erie Terminal Place, the Legal Arts Building and the Harshman Building.
In addition to the federal and state tax credits, NYO secured $770,000 from the Ohio Development Service Agency’s Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund. City council needs to pass a resolution at its Wednesday meeting in support of NYO’s receiving the loan for it to be processed, Marchionda said.
The loan, to be paid back over a nine-year period, would help fund abatement work at Wick, he said.
Also, NYO and the city have a tentative deal to provide up to $500,000 in water and wastewater grants and a $2 million loan with an interest rate of 0.25 percent. City council was to consider it Wednesday, but it was pulled from the agenda as NYO finalizes its financing.
“When someone wants to take a major downtown building and improve it, we certainly support it,” said T. Sharon Woodberry, the city’s economic development director.
The city sold the building for $125,000 to Lou Frangos, a downtown property developer, on May 20, 2005. The building was largely empty at the time, but became completely vacant under Frangos, who wanted to turn the structure into an apartment complex.
NYO bought the building for $150,000 from Frangos on Aug. 24, 2012.
NYO expects to invest about $16.5 million to convert Wick into 30 apartments and 22 extended-stay living facilities with the latter rented for short periods of time to those conducting business in the area, Marchionda said.
His company is planning to convert the Stambaugh Building, 44 E. Federal St., into a hotel with a nationally known chain. That deal hasn’t been finalized.
As for Wick, Marchionda said the “biggest financial headache” at the building is the elevator, followed by plumbing and interior demolition.