First National Tower Sold for $1.14M to Investment Group

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The landmark First National Bank Tower at 1 W. Federal St., the tallest building in the region, has been sold for $1.14 million to Big Blue Properties LLC Series XXI, based in Henderson, Nv.

The seller is First National Holdings LLC of New York City, which is in business with NYO Property Group, the company operated by developer Dominic Marchionda. The transaction closed Thursday.

The current value of the 16-story building is listed as $1,206,890, according to the Mahoning County auditor. It was built in 1929 and remodeled in 1984.

Darryl Myers, chief operating officer of California-based Modern On Property Group, an investor affiliate of Big Blue Properties, says plans are to improve the building, which he estimates is at 60% occupancy, and keep it as office space.

“We might do something different with the retail downstairs but at the end of the day we’re going to be very aggressive with how we market it and who we encourage to come to downtown Youngstown,” says Myers.

Talks are underway with current tenants, he says. They include First National Bank, which occupies the ground floor, and the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, which has its headquarters on the top floors, about renewing their leases.

“The chamber hopefully will re-sign with us, they haven’t yet, but hopefully they’ll re-sign and be an active tenant,” Myers says.

Work will begin soon on several floors to prepare them for occupancy, he adds. Plans also call for the building to be power-washed and the roof repaired.

Myers says the important thing is to keep the integrity of the building intact, and “make it a point of pride in downtown Youngstown because it’s an iconic building.”

Modern On is a partnership among Myers, Barry Taitz, the majority shareholder and also the founder of Blue Cellular, and David Hanus, whose background includes running a $300 million property fund.

Since April, Modern On has spent about $4 million to acquire commercial and residential properties throughout Mahoning and Trumbull counties, Myers says, including the recent purchase of the Reeves building on the peninsula near downtown Warren.

Myers says the purchase of the First National Tower is the group’s “first step” in downtown Youngstown, and more purchases could be on the way.

“President Tressel’s vision for YSU, the downtown area investment that’s been made as well as we’re hearing a lot of people want to move downtown: These are all things that are brewing in our investment committee meetings,” he says.

Another reason for the group’s interest, Myers says, is the area’s role in the emerging additive manufacturing industry.

“There’s a lot of innovation coming out of Youngstown. More people will probably be attracted to it in due course so we’re just sitting here watching.”

In July, Marchionda’s NYO Property Group listed for sale through Platz Realty Group the Erie Terminal at 112 W. Commerce St. downtown with an asking price of $6.35 million, and The Flats at Wick, a student housing complex, for $8.5 million.

NYO sold the Legal Arts Building to YO Properties 101 LLC for $400,000. Also sold was the company’s Realty Building downtown for $2 million.

Marchionda was indicted in August 2018, along with former city finance director David Bozanich and former mayor Charles Sammarone on 101 counts of bribery and corruption charges. His trial is set to begin June 1, 2020.

Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to note the Realty Building was sold.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.