Interior demolition work is underway to convert the vacant downtown Wick Building into a 52-unit rental and extended-stay facility.
The work, part of a $15 million to $16 million improvement project, started about two weeks ago resulting in the closing of the sidewalk surrounding the building on the northeast corner of West Federal and North Phelps streets.
Also, about half the width of North Phelps is also closed and fenced off by the building.
Inside the fence are large Dumpster-like bins to hold debris being thrown down a yellow garbage chute on the North Phelps side of the 13-story building at 34 W. Federal St. There is also temporary scaffolding on the North Phelps side.
NYO Property Group, which owns the building, is handling the interior demolition.
“We’re doing some work that needs to get done and the project is moving forward,” said Dominic Marchionda, NYO’s managing member. “We’re moving in the right direction and getting things accomplished.”
AO Construction and Restoration of Boardman will start exterior improvements in about two weeks, said Angel Ortiz, the contracting company’s owner.
“We’ll secure the exterior materials, the stuff that is loose” on the building, Ortiz said.
Most of the exterior work will be done in the spring, he said.
NYO will receive $3.66 million in federal and state tax credits at the completion of the project.
The company originally had to start the work by Aug. 1 or lose those credits, but received a 60-day extension just before that date.
Company officials have said the project will take 12 to 14 months to complete.
In addition to the tax credits for the 103-year-old building, the company is expected to receive a $770,000 low-interest loan from the state, and is working on a financial-incentive package with the city to get up to $500,000 in water and wastewater grants and a $2 million low-interest loan.
NYO plans to convert the building, vacant for about seven years, into 30 apartments and 22 extended-stay living facilities. The latter would be rented for short periods of time to those conducting business in the area.
Among other NYO downtown properties are Realty Tower Apartments, the Flats at Wick, Erie Terminal Place, the Metropolitan Savings and Loan Building, the Harshman Building, the Stambaugh Building, the Legal Arts Building, the former St. Vincent de Paul thrift store and office building, and 16 Wick Building.
The city, which received Wick as a donation in 1993 from Burdman Bros. Inc., 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 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.