Downtown Landmark Building Sold for $1.3M

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The landmark First National Bank building – historically referred to as Central Tower – has been sold to a group of New Jersey developers for $1.37 million, according to the property’s listing agent.

“They see a value in Youngstown,” said Don Thomas, managing partner of Platz Realty Group, which first listed the property in July 2022. 

Thomas declined to provide the name of the buyers, and the property had not officially transferred it as of Friday morning, according to the Mahoning County Auditor’s office. He did say the new owners have a “broad plan” for the building but could not provide more details.

The 17-story, 224-foot-high building is the tallest in Youngstown, Thomas said. It was designed by Morris Scheibel and reflects the Art Deco style of the late 1920s. The structure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. 

Construction on the tower was completed in 1929, making it nearly a century old, according to auditor records.

“It’s almost 100 years old and structurally sound,” Thomas said. “A lot of spaces were renovated, and there’s a lot of opportunity for renovation. There’s a lot to be preserved here.”

The building at 1 W. Federal St. anchors the city’s central business district. Its major tenant is First National Bank, Thomas said.

“All of the landlords have had great relationships with the bank,” he said, noting the office building has a 63% occupancy rate. 

The building’s previous owners, listed on the auditor’s website as Big Blue Properties LLC, opted to place the structure on the market in the wake of the COVID pandemic, Thomas said. That ownership group was based in South Africa, and the investors wanted to concentrate on their core holdings after the pandemic, he noted.

Big Blue Properties purchased the building in 2019 for $1.14 million, auditor records show. The tower is currently appraised at $1.2 million for tax purposes.

Thomas said the building generated a high degree of interest since it was first listed in July 2022. It came under contract in November of that year with the new owners.

“It’s just a cool building,” Thomas said.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.