Downtown Building Owner Seeks Retail Tenants

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The owner of the former Vogue Shop building downtown is seeking tenants as part of her plan to create a retail galleria.

Plans call for subdividing the first floor of the high-profile building into seven smaller spaces.
Lena Esmail purchased the three-story structure at the corner of West Federal and North Phelps streets last summer for $460,000 from Barry Silver, who operated his men’s clothing store there for decades until closing it in 2020. It was one of the few remaining stores downtown. Esmail has said her goal is to bring retail space with affordable rent back to the center city.

An architectural drawing of the plan for the first floor has been posted in the building’s display window. It shows how the 25,000 square-foot first floor will be transformed.

The main doorway would open onto a wide central hallway that runs through the middle of the floor. The seven retail spaces would each have a door off the hallway. There is also room for two kiosks in the hallway.

The seven tenant spaces, which are on both sides of the hallway, vary in size. Four would have approximately 1,000 square feet; the others would have 700 square feet and smaller.
Two of the units have already been rented, including one at the front of the store.
Toshi Hudson of Brick Print LLC, the company Esmail created to purchase and operate the building, would not reveal the names of the tenants.

Renovation work will begin in the fall, she said, with a goal of opening the building to the public in 2023.
“It’s a very old building and needs a lot of work,” Hudson said. “We’d like to get it taken care of as soon as possible so we know how to complete the buildout.”

Brick Print is focused on the main floor for now, she said, adding it’s too soon to discuss the plans for the second floor and basement of the building.

The art studio of Jim Pernotto is on the second floor and the Downtown Boxing Gym is in the basement.
Pernotto said he has not yet met with the new owner. He has occupied the space since 1978, except for the period between 1994 and 2004, when he lived in New York City and operated an art gallery there.
Larry Filer, owner of the boxing club, also said he has not been given a timetable. “At some point I’m sure I’ll have to go but they haven’t said when yet,” he said.

Filer has operated the basement gym for 40 years. About 20 people train there, he said.
In an interview with The Business Journal last summer, Esmail said the second floor will be converted into loft apartments.

The total cost of renovating the building would be at least $1.5 million, she said.
Esmail is the CEO of QuickMed Urgent Care clinics. She founded the company in Liberty Township in 2019 and now operates five other locations in Austintown, Columbiana, Cortland, She said in the interview that she had been looking for ways to reinvest in the area.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.