YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Youngstown landmark on the national register of historic places has been spruced up and is now officially open to the public.
A ceremony was held on Monday to mark the grand opening of the Wick Tower in downtown Youngstown, which was recently renovated. People gathered in front of the building to get a glimpse of the updated property.
Jackie Marchionda, interior designer and space planner of NYO Property Group, took WKBN on a tour of the updated building, which will hold apartments and extended stay units.
Among the changes, Marchionda said the elevators were completely refurbished and the walls were replaced. Some old elements of the building still remain, however.
“The brass fittings are the original,” she said of the elevators.
On the 13th floor — the top floor of the Wick Tower — sits a two bedroom apartment, containing the original brick work from the old building.
Marchionda said restoring and maintaining many of the original pieces to keep its historical elements intact was a challenge.
“It was a mess,” she said. “I mean, there were even papers and files laying around like people just abandoned it, and just left.”
Marchionda said the project took some convincing from her husband, Dominic Marchionda, principal and chief executive of NYO Property group.
“Without his vision and relentless energy, this project wouldn’t simply take place, and believe me, he had to convince me several times that this was going to work,” she said, laughing.
The hard work paid off, however.
Now, the Wick Tower has 49 apartments — 35 for long-term leases and 14 for extended stay. Some have great views of the city, including one apartment that overlooks Youngstown State University.
Speaking at Monday’s grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting were Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Youngstown Mayor John McNally and Congressman Tim Ryan.
Also in the audience was Italian immigrant Gerbina Dirienzo. She was once the elevator operator at the Wick building.
“Was all good people working here,” she said.
Looking east on Federal Street, the Wick Tower is the tallest brick building on the left. It was built in 1906 by George Wick, a founder of Youngstown Sheet and Tube who died on the Titanic.
Since its construction, many organizations have made the Wick Tower home, including the Wick Brothers Trust Company — later City Trust and Savings Bank — Newman and Thomas Co., Superior Chemical Company and the Youngstown Police Street Crimes Unit.
About 60 percent of the apartments are already rented, and though some are middle-aged tenants, most are Youngstown State Students.
From the outside, the Wick Tower looks the same, but the inside is a completely different story.
“Seeing the Wick building, an old vacant structure with so much history and so many ties to this city come to life again… There’s nothing more rewarding than that,” said Dominic Marchionda.