New York Buyer Closes on Chase Tower

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — An investor from Queens, New York is the new owner of Chase Tower.

Mohammed Hasan of Ashiana Homes Inc. closed on the sale Wednesday for $875,000. During the second auction of the building this year, Hasan placed the winning bid for the property Aug. 11.

Ashiana Homes invests primarily in commercial real estate in New York City, but “we wanted to expand away from New York,” Hasan says. The firm had been eyeing opportunities along the East Coast as far south as North Carolina, as well as the Midwest into the Chicago area.

Hasan has visited Ohio and the Youngstown area a few times and says the tower at 6 West Federal Plaza presents a good opportunity.

“The building itself is pretty sleek from the inside,” he says.

Looking at Youngstown as a whole, Hasan says major projects and upgrades to the area, as well as other investments into downtown buildings and establishing Youngstown State University as a central point to the city, makes investing in real estate downtown attractive.

“I think that Youngstown has its bad days behind it,” Hasan says. “There’s a lot of opportunity to be brought into that area. … I’m really hoping to capitalize on that.”

Hasan’s priority is to court a bank for the first floor of the building, he says. For the next three to six months, he looks to work with real estate professionals in New York, as well as Cleveland and Pittsburgh to identify possible tenants for the main floor, as well as other floors.

If bringing in a bank isn’t possible, Hasan says the backup plan is to bring in some kind of nightlife, such as a restaurant or event space for the first- and second-floor units.

He also looks to convert three to four floors of the 14-floor building into modern apartments, he notes. Each floor has about 9,000 square feet of space, which he plans to divvy up into 800-square-foot parcels for each apartment, creating 40 to 50 units, he says.

Hasan expects work to begin converting the floors to apartments after the next six months.

The sale follows a previous auction in April, in which an investment group based in Miami placed a $1.15 million bid for the historic tower. That sale, however, fell through and the property was put back on the auction block in August.

Lou Frangos, chairman of the Cleveland-based Frangos Group – the building’s previous owner – said the Miami bidder’s only stated concern with the property was a supposed lack of parking, which Frangos said isn’t an issue because of the availability of street and paid parking.

The landmark building was designed by Walker & Weeks Architects and constructed in 1928. It building has 128,741 of leasable square footage.

In May, Chase moved its downtown Youngstown office to the Realty Tower.

The Chase building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.