Huntington to Move Downtown Branch, Put Mahoning Building Up for Sale

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Huntington National Bank plans to move its downtown branch into TCF Bank’s space in the Stambaugh Building and put its current space on the market, a bank official said Tuesday.

A relocation of the downtown Huntington branch from 23 Federal Plaza was signaled at Tuesday morning’s meeting of Youngstown’s design review committee, which considered a request submitted by Tonya Jefferson, representing LAAD Sign & Lighting of Ravenna, to replace TCF’s existing non-illuminated, flag-mounted sign at 44 E. Federal St. with a similar Huntington sign and to add green vinyl above the entry door and on a window.  

Huntington completed its $22 billion acquisition of TCF on June 9 and the two institutions are in the process of finalizing the merger of their operations.

Emily Smith, Huntington’s vice president of media relations, confirmed the branch’s move in an email Tuesday evening. 

Huntington will consolidate its existing Federal Plaza branch into the TCF branch located at 44 E. Federal, she said. The two branches serve the same trade area and overlap in their service to the downtown area. 

Huntington Bank, which recently acquired TCF Bank, will consolidate its downtown Youngstown branch into this space in the Stambaugh Building in October.

The 13-story Mahoning National Bank Building will be marketed for sale, though existing tenants are expected to remain in the building, she added. Mahoning County property records show the building is owned by Mahoning National Bank of Youngstown, which became part of Sky Bank in 2000. Subsequently, Sky Bank became part of Huntington in 2007. 

Huntington and its predecessors have been at that site since about the early 1870s, when Mahoning Bank built its first building at the site, according to Bill Lawson, executive director of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society. Mahoning Bank replaced the original building with the current structure in 1911. 

The 44 East Federal branch will begin operating as Huntington after a conversion is done the weekend of Oct. 11, Smith said. It will continue to offer full-service products to customers and businesses downtown.  

Huntington currently has nearly 100 employees in downtown Youngstown now, some of whom will remain at the branch while others will be transferred to other area offices, she said. Huntington has more than 500 employees in the Mahoning Valley.

In other Design Review Committee business, committee members voted to table a project by Youngstown CityScape for its Bloomin’ Arts project, a collaboration with The Butler Institute of American Art. 

The project, which involves installing reproductions of works from the museum’s permanent collection on metal into three downtown garden bunkers, was started in 2019 as part of the celebration of the museum’s centennial year, said Martha Morgan, CityScape development director. 

Finding a signmaker to do the work and to find a paint that would adhere and not fade “took us a little time,” she said. Once the organization was ready to proceed in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The three signs, which CityScape proposes to anchor using concrete footers, will cost $10,000 and are being sponsored by PNC Bank. 

Committee members and others in attendance raised several concerns, ranging from the possibility of graffiti or stickers being placed on the back of the signs and the posts being bent to issues surrounding the pieces being displayed.  

Putting images on both sides of the signs would raise the price substantially. “The process of getting the picture on the metal is more than you would think,” Morgan said. 

Charles Shasho, Youngstown deputy director of public works, suggested utilizing breakaway posts so that damaged posts could more easily be replaced. 

Sharon Letson, CityScape’s executive director, and Dr. Louis Zona, the Butler’s executive director and chief curator, selected the three proposed works: Winslow Homer’s “Snap the Whip,” Robert Vonnoh’s “In Flanders Field” and Norman Rockwell’s “Lincoln the Railsplitter.”

First Ward Councilman Julius Oliver raised concerns over the lack of representation of people of color in either the works themselves or their creators. He also pointed out that Lincoln, seen by most people as the liberator enslaved Black people, was also in favor of returning freed slaves to Africa in order to avoid creating a mixed-race society in America. 

“What are we trying to get accomplished with these particular pieces of art? What’s our goal?” he asked. “You might want to put something up to attract the entire city as well as the entirety of people that visit the city.” 

The three works selected are among the best known in The Butler’s collection, Morgan said. The project could be expanded with additional funding but the three signs were all CityScape could afford with the current funding.    

“We need to have further discussion” before the September committee meeting, Nikki Posterli, said Youngstown director of community planning and economic development. 

During the meeting, members also approved landscaping, including trees, bushes and shrubs; and placement of trash and cigarette receptacles, benches and bicycle racks along Phelps Street from West Federal Street to Front Street. The street is getting a makeover as part of the Smart2 Network project

Work on Phelps Street, which was scheduled to take six months, began about two months ago and appears to be on track, Shasho said.  

The new Huntington sign was one of five sign and storefront-related projects that the committee approved during the meeting. 

Those included a renovation project at the Avalon Downtown to extend the English Tudor appearance of the west building, 17 W. Federal St., where the restaurant’s entrance is located, to the building just east, which houses the bar and seating area.

“What the client wanted to do was make the west half look more like the east half,” said Kirk Kreuzweiser, project architect with Strollo Architects, Youngstown.  

The project replace cracked and rotting trim boards on both buildings with plastic trim boards to match the existing trim size and color and adding new plastic trim board to the west building to match the façade of the east, repainting existing brick as needed, adding a new pergola over the main entrance and replacing the signage. 

The work should begin this summer and extend into October, Kreuzweiser said. He also told the committee he would return before them for approval of the design for the new sign once it is completed. 

New signs also were approved for The Butler, OH Donut Co. and Peiffer Wolf Carr Kane & Conway, a New Orleans law firm establishing a local office at 101 W. Federal St, above the Whistle & Keg taproom.  

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.