Design Review Committee OKs Nearly $70K in Façade Grants

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The city’s Design Review Committee approved nearly $70,000 in façade grants for sign, patio, painting and parking lot projects.

Also at its meeting Tuesday, the panel denied a request from Philadelphia Sign for green awnings on the former Huntington National Bank building while approving a sign request there.

The committee approved a patio for the Erie Terminal building.

Hopewell Theatre, Mozac Properties, Charlie Staples Bar-B-Que and Pitt Boss Esports Lounge and Yo Properties were the entities for which the committee approved façade grants.

The exterior improvement grants are funded from the city’s $82.7 million American Rescue Plan allocation.

The Yo Properties 23 LLC project at the Gallagher Building, 23 N. Hazel St., totals $67,311, with the façade grant funding $20,000. It involves painting exterior brick, adding fencing for trash enclosures, landscaping, graphics and signage on the building.

Brian Angelilli of Yo Properties told the committee that plans call for a Youngstown State University-themed restaurant/bar, the Varsity Club, expected to open next year “when all the roads are done.”

He said the courtyard will be painted. The business is working with YSU to get approval to use the university’s artwork.

The Charlie Staples and Pitt Boss Esports Lounge project, 372 Rayen Ave., totals $44,747, with the grant funding $20,000. The existing sign will be removed, and a color digital display will be erected in its place.

Earlier this year, Staples sold his longtime barbecue restaurant to Casey Pitts and his wife, Tonia Farmer-Pitts, who owned a barbecue restaurant and gamer lounge in Warren.

The new owners kept most of the restaurant’s menu, although Casey Pitts told the committee that the filet sandwich and popcorn shrimp were removed because people weren’t ordering them.

Mozac Properties plans to pave the parking lot, excavate overgrown trees and fill cracks with rubberized crack sealer on the grass/gravel front property. The project at 1221 N. Meridian Road will cost $63,475, with the façade grant paying $20,000.

Hopewell Theatre, 702 Mahoning Ave., plans to pave its parking lot to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The project will cost $19,630, with the grant paying $9,815.

Regarding the former Huntington National Bank building, committee members were concerned the seven requested green awnings for the building, in addition to windows and awnings already there, may create too much on the building’s exterior.  

“I’d like to see more uniformity to the building as a whole,” committee member Jonathan Imler said.

He suggested decals on windows as an alternative since decals aren’t permanent.

Huntington Bank moved its downtown office from the building to the Stambaugh Building in 2021, but bank officials have said the plan was to move back into the Market Street building. 

A restaurant is expected to open in the Erie Terminal building on West Commerce Street, and the patio approved by the committee Tuesday will be used by that future tenant.

Annissa Neider of A. Neider Architecture represented the building’s owner at the meeting. She said an agreement with the prospective tenant hasn’t been finalized so she couldn’t reveal the name of the restaurant.

The patio will be added at the rear of the building.

Pictured at top: The Gallagher Building at 23 N. Hazel St.

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