Downtown Youngstown Chase Building to Hit Auction Block

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Chase Tower in downtown Youngstown will go on the auction block next month, one of two landmark properties in the city’s central business district that soon could be changing hands.

The 14-floor office building, which is owned by the Cleveland-based Frangos Group, will be auctioned online April 19 though 21, according to the Ten-X Commercial website. 

USA Chase Building Youngstown LLC, the Frangos entity listed as the building’s owner, purchased the property for $775,000 in 2008. 

“The Ten-X auction platform is one that has been successful as a way to establish interest and determine value of the property,” said Frangos Group chairman Lou Frangos.

The opening bid is set at $500,000, but there is “an unpublished reserve threshold to see exactly what if any the interest there will be,” he said. 

For decades, Chase Bank – and the banking entities that preceded it – has occupied the building’s ground floor space, but the building is poised to lose that anchor tenant. In May, Chase is moving its downtown Youngstown office to the Realty Tower. 

Constructed in 1928, the building at 6 Federal Plaza Central has a total rentable space of 128,741 square feet and gross square footage of 135,300 square feet. According to the Ten-X listing, 26% of the building is occupied. 

The usable space includes the 12,000-square-foot bank space on the main floor, which features high ceilings and is accented with a series of mosaic panels, including some of past U.S. presidents.

Other spaces in the building range from 895 square feet to 8,765 square feet. Among the property’s features is its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The auction of the historic property comes as the city of Youngstown prepares to put out a request for proposals to purchase and redevelop 20 Federal Place, the former Strouss’ department store. An analysis of the property released last week proposes a $34.5 million redevelopment plan with a mix of retail, dining, office and residential use for the building. 

Frangos said he always was interested in possibly acquiring 20 Federal Place. In November, his company participated in a virtual meeting with Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and members of the city’s development team to discuss including the Chase Tower in the 20 Federal study.

“I always thought that 20 Federal and the Chase building should be under one ownership,” he said, and offered to contribute $5,000 to such an initiative. The hope was to explore ways to retain the tax revenue stream from VXI Global Solutions, 20 Federal’s main tenant, and to bring additional revenues to the city.

Meanwhile, when Chase Bank decided to move, “We decided to explore other options and the possibility of redeveloping Chase ourselves or with others was now a real possibility and opportunity,” Frangos continued. 

Absent a single user who would occupy five or six of the floors, a residential-office mix on the upper floors and potentially a restaurant in the bank might represent a path for success for the Chase Tower as well, according to Alex Jelepis, a commercial real estate agent for SVN Cleveland Corporate Realty Advisors, which has been tied to the property for several years.    

“There seems to be pretty good momentum in downtown Youngstown,” Jelepis said. 

The commercial real estate market is challenged by lack of occupancy, he said. Because the downtown office market has shrunk so much, millions of square feet – upward of 80% of the Class C space – in downtown Cleveland, has been converted to residential space. The Chase Tower has windows on all four sides that are ideal for residential units. 

The “massive banking hall,” with its mezzanine, tall ceilings  and other features, “should be a Cameron Mitchell steakhouse or something like that,” he offered. “I can see it being repurposed for that.”  

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.