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Old Posted May 16, 2018, 10:25 PM
Dblcut3 Dblcut3 is offline
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I have a lot of news out of Youngstown today....

Downtown's DoubleTree Hotel Now Open!

The new DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Downtown opened yesterday in the historic Stambaugh Building. The building had been mainly empty and in a state of disrepair for years until it was purchased by NYO Property Group. They had been working for years to turn the building into a hotel.

The entrance of the Stambaugh Building:

The first floor has four retail spaces, the lobby is on the second floor. The first restaurant, Bistro 1907 will open on May 23rd. It will be an upscale Parisian bistro inspired restaurant owned by a reputable local chef. Another restaurant, YOSTERIA, will eventually open. It will be an upscale Tuscan restaurant. It is currently running a test kitchen out of Downtown's B&O Station. The third business will be Branch Street Roasters - an award winning Boardman based coffee shop. The fourth business will be a bank.

The lobby of the hotel:

The top floor is a large ballroom and conference center. There are future plans for a rooftop bar and pool. The hotel is already nearly booked in its first week and will have its grand opening on May 30.

One of the hotel rooms:

Inside Bistro 1907 on the first floor:

The Enclave Project Drops Retail Plans:

There's some bad news coming out of the YSU neighborhood - The Enclave project's developers have dropped plans for a retail building along Wick Avenue in favor of building a 4,500 square foot student health center for YSU. I'm a bit dissapointed that there will no longer be any retail there - it could have been a good way to slowly link YSU's campus with Downtown via Wick Avenue. Nonetheless, the project is going strong and the apartment portion is nearing completion. It looks great to see some density on that corner. The apartments are almost fully reserved.

The health center taking shape with the apartment portion in the background:

A drone photo of The Enclave from this week:

Phelps Street Pedestrian Plaza:

The City will be holding a meeting on May 23rd to receive public opinion on closing North Phelps Street to traffic in order to make it into a pedestrian plaza similar to Cleveland's East 4th Street. I'm really happy that the city is going this route, especially since this option didn't seem to popular. It could still be blocked, but I haven't heard any significant NIMBY opposition, and the restaurants on the street seem to be in support.

The non-pedestrian plaza proposal rendering:

Wick Tower (on corner of Federal and North Phelps), owned by NYO Property Group, has been trying to attract a business to the first floor without success. A restaurant was supposed to be opened last fall, but as usual in Youngstown, the owner got indicted and is getting his assets seized. NYO has this listing on Loopnet and area using the future pedestrian plaza as a selling point. Another planned development for North Phelps Street was the relocation and expansion of Circle Deli & Hookah Bar into a new building - but the owner, Adi Othman, was deported. I'm not sure if his kids still plan on expanding the business to Phelps Street.

Wick Tower's first floor retail space with North Phelps Street construction to the left:

Coffee Shop Relocation & New Smoothie Bar in Downtown

And one more random piece of news: Joe Maxx Coffee Company (A nationwide chain based in Youngstown) was forced out of their space at the Realty Building by NYO Property Group. This is possibly due to NYO bringing in Branch Street Roasters across the street... but NYO already has a new tenant secured, The Smoothie Bar on Central Square. The good news is, Joe Maxx decided to stay in Downtown and have reopened in the Youngstown Business Incubator Campus on the west end of Downtown! It'll be great to have a coffee shop down there.

Last edited by Dblcut3; May 16, 2018 at 10:47 PM.
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Old Posted May 17, 2018, 2:15 AM
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deja vu deja vu is offline
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The DoubleTree by Hilton looks great! The Enclave looks alright too - better than I'd imagined anyway. Bummer about the loss of retail, but if nothing else, the added density is a plus.
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Old Posted May 23, 2018, 9:21 PM
Dblcut3 Dblcut3 is offline
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Phelps Street Pedestrian Mall News:

City officials are holding a meeting tonight (May 23rd) for public input on the proposal to close North Phelps Street in Downtown to create a pedestrian plaza inspired by Cleveland's East Fourth Street. The hope is that it will help attract more pedestrian traffic from YSU's campus into Downtown's entertainment district and then further down Phelps Street to the new amphitheater and riverfront park being built. Fortunately, I think this will end up happening. The mayor has announced that he is in support of it and the businesses on the street are enthusiastic. The only real issues with it I can find are people saying it will "increase loitering" or create a "hangout for beggars and criminals." - Typical anti-development attitudes from suburbanites who haven't been Downtown since the 80s. So without a solid reason to oppose it, it should go forward!

I'd like to really thank the Planning Commission for pushing the pedestrian plaza idea since it was nearly dead in favor of just having a streetscaping project instead. The city has identified four vacant spots on the street and three potential storefronts in a building next to Wick Tower. A major component to the plan would be spaces for food trucks to park. With all these new developments planned for this side of Downtown, I think it is time for the city to consider building a new parking garage.

Here's a very basic plan for the plaza - honestly this plan confuses me, but here it is anyways:

The Kitchen Post Now Open in Downtown:

A popular local restaurant, The Kitchen Post, has closed it's Struthers location in favor of moving Downtown into Erie Terminal Place (Interestingly, they will be across the street from the proposed Phelps St. Pedestrian Plaza). I'm glad that they are opening here - it is a very prominent space that was previously vacant. Now with them, One Hot Cookie next to them, and the restaurants and developments on Phelps Street, this will be a great walkable part of Downtown in the coming years. They are open for business but will have strange hours until the end of May.

Erie Terminal Place:

The Kitchen Post is very well know and is one of the few "hip" restaurants in town. They are best known for their simple yet creative dishes and brunch selections. In particular, they are known for Taco Tuesdays, Ramen Thursdays, chicken & waffles, and more. They also serve craft beer from two local breweries: Noble Creature Cask House and Birdfish Brewery.

Inside the Kitchen Post:

New Golden String Radio Studio:
Iron String Life Enhancement (ISLE) is a local group that helps people that have disabilities. One of their programs, Golden String Radio (online radio), is moving to a new building on South Phelps Street in Downtown. The building will house the recording studio as well as space for Purple Cat Records - another branch of their program. This will have more recording studios for musicians such as the Purple Cat Band and will feature a record store. The building will also feature an art gallery from local artists and classrooms for art and music lessons. ISLE hopes to attract musicians with disabilities from across the country to this new studio.

The new ISLE Music Building on South Phelps Street:

I can't find any photos of the inside, but it is a pretty impressive space. It's definitely a good use for this old building. ISLE is working to renovate another group of buildings in Downtown and will be relocating their administrative offices to there.

The Fifth Avenue Buildings that will be renovated:

Silver's Building For Sale:
The Silvers Vogue Shop building is up for sale in Downtown. It is a historic building on a very prominent corner (West Federal & Phelps). The first floor tenant, Silver's Vogue Shop will remain open and has been an important Downtown shop for decades - but the building could really use some TLC. I'd love to see some apartments go in upstairs and a new storefront on the side of the building - or at the very least, I'd like to see the boards come off the windows! So if anyone has the money, please fix up this building

The exterior of the building from last year:

Also, I'm working on a website that will be a hub for info on Youngstown development news, neighborhood info, and anything else related to revitalizing the city into a healthy urban area. Stay tuned!
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Old Posted May 23, 2018, 10:05 PM
The Best Forumer The Best Forumer is offline
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Nice updates!
The suburbs are second-rate. Cookie-cutter houses, treeless yards, mediocre schools, and more crime than you think. Do your family a favor and move closer to the city.
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Old Posted Jul 12, 2018, 6:56 PM
Dblcut3 Dblcut3 is offline
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Youngstown's Oldest Church Being Saved:

The Welsh Congregational Church, built in 1861, is Youngstown's oldest church. It is on Elm Street in the YSU neighborhood in between the YSU campus and Downtown. The church was the community center of Youngstown's Welsh community, which was the largest immigrant group in Youngstown during the 19th century. It has been owned by the Youngstown Catholic Diocese for decades and has been vacant and in bad shape. Luckily, Youngstown CityScape stepped up and announced an ambitious restoration project for the church. The plan is to move the church from its current location to Wick Park on the North Side. It will be used as a multi purpose community meeting house. This will hopefully contribute to the Wick Park Historic District, which is struggling to maintain its historic structures. CityScape is holding a fundraiser on July 20th at Noble Creature Cask House at 5:30pm to support the renovation. The Diocese will redevelop the land to better blend in with the neighborhood and campus.

The Welsh Congregational Church:

New Utility Box Art in Downtown:

Downtown Youngstown has added five new utility box artworks recently. This is in addition to several that were already put into place in late 2017. This time the project was in Central Square and West Federal Street. They feature artwork and photography from local artists working with YSUscape. This along with new self guided walking tour signage were installed on the city's 222nd birthday.

Utility boxes on Central Square:

Utility box in front of Powers Auditorium on West Federal Street:

Youngstown CityScape also installed five new self-guided walking tour signs marking several historic sites in Downtown including the B&O Railroad Station, Central Square, and Wick Park.

One of the new walking tour signs in Downtown:
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Old Posted Sep 8, 2018, 7:11 PM
Dblcut3 Dblcut3 is offline
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Enclave Student Apartments Opens:
The Enclave Student Apartments has recently opened and students have moved in for the fall semester! The MercyHealth Student Health Center portion of the development is still not complete. I believe there is still a possibility for retail space along Lincoln Avenue, but I'm not sure.

Here are some photos of the completed building from their Instagram page:

New $1.5 Million YSU Intramural Sports Complex:

The Cafaro Family has donated $1.5 million to Youngstown State University to build a new intramural sports complex on the north side of the campus. It will be located on the corner of Madison Avenue and Bryson Street in the Wick Park neighborhood. It is located in the parking lot behind the Flats at Wick Apartments and across the street from Ursuline High School. (Street View Link) The "Cafaro Family Field" will consist of a large sports field for lacrosse, soccer, rugby, and football. It will help serve YSU's eight intramural sports leagues. It'll be nice to see YSU continue to spread into Wick Park - it's a neighborhood with a lot of potential and a big student population, but it is very underutilized. Luckily, some businesses are beginning to move in on the neighborhood's business district (I'll cover this later in this post) so hopefully Wick Park is on the upswing finally.

A rendering of Cafaro Family Field:

New Businesses Coming to Wick Park's Elm Street Business District:

Wick Park Historic District was once the city's first "millionaire row" but is now a shell of what it once was. The neighborhood has experienced heavy blight which has led to the loss of countless historic houses and mansions. Sadly most of the remaining ones are in bad shape and run by slumlords. The neighborhood should be ripe for gentrification due to it being home to so many university students and its beautiful old houses surrounding a park - but no one has really gotten the ball rolling on the neighborhood yet. That being said, it's been gradually improving each year despite the continued loss of historic homes.

Elm Street's 800 and 900 block serves as the neighborhood's business district. Thanks to some recent investment, this struggling yet quaint business district has begun to pick up some momentum. This is mostly thanks to Commonwealth Kitchen Incubator who took over a building in the neighborhood a few years ago. They began buying up other buildings and have been gradually renovating them. A popular business on the road is "Cultivate Co-Op Cafe" which is known for its unique menu and locally sourced foods.

A new coffee shop is coming to 818 Elm Street soon - Culturehouse Coffee Roasters. They have been in business for a while now, but this will be their first brick and mortar store. I'm really excited for this and I think it will help out the neighborhood a lot. YSU has a lot of student housing right next to Elm Street, but students rarely venture up into Elm Street - hopefully new businesses like this will gradually change that! They should open sometime this fall.

The future home of Culturehouse Coffee Roasters:

Unfortunately, Dorian Books, a popular business on Elm Street, is closing soon. The good news is that the owners of the building are going to put it to good use. The building will be transformed into a 100 seat singer's cabaret and event center, building on the success of their past Music on Madison events.

The Shagrin Building, which houses Dorian Books:

Elsewhere in Wick Park, a few houses are being bought up by Housing Authority and are being fixed up and subdivided into apartments for homeless veterans. It won't just be a shelter - the plan is to eventually have them transition into leasing the apartments permanently after completing job training programs and securing a steady income. I'm glad that they are going to use some of these vacant houses which would have been torn down otherwise.

One of the houses they will renovate (This is an older photo, it's been boarded up in recent years):
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