Rica Building Gets a New Face, and Soon, a New Name

YOUNGSTOWN – One of Tim Huber’s goals for the Rica Building was to make it stand out.

So, he hired mural artist Patrick McGlone to paint the exterior of the four-story brick building on Champion Street, downtown, which he purchased earlier this year.

With a 40-foot depiction of the Greek god Apollo painted on its east wall – visible to motorists crossing the South Avenue Bridge into downtown – the building has become an instant landmark.

McGlone completed the Apollo mural last week. He earlier finished a separate mural on the southern face of the building.

The southern face formerly had a mural that was a realistic depiction of an old-fashioned building with wood-framed windows. Unfortunately, the eye-catching artwork had started to fade in recent years. The new mural pays homage to the previous one by emphasizing the windows but is abstract and much brighter.

Huber is pleased with the building’s new look – so much so that he intends to change its name to The Apollo Building.

It’s the first of many plans that he has for the building.

Soap Gallery, which occupies the ground floor, will stay, but its space will be expanded. It will be marketed as The Apollo Event Center and made available for party or reception rentals.

“We’ll expand it but not change the look of the gallery,” he said. The gallery decor features exposed brick, an original wooden floor and artistic light fixtures.

The second floor will be renovated into office space, and apartments will go on the third and fourth floors.

The Rica building is not Huber’s only downtown investment. He is the co-owner of Prima Cucina Ristorante, downtown, along with business partner and chef Josh Santangelo.

The Prima kitchen will provide the food for events at The Apollo Events Center, Huber said. The restaurateurs had been looking for a larger space for catered events, he said.

The Rica Building murals are the latest high-profile works by McGlone.

His art graces many building surfaces in the Mahoning Valley, including the signage on the new Penguin City Brewing Co., downtown; and murals at Southern Park Mall in Boardman.

But the New Middletown-based owner of Overall Painting Co. said the Rica Building is his favorite work.

“It’s my biggest one, in a lot of ways,” he said. “It has the most square footage, it’s the most elaborate, and it’s the one I am most proud of. We went back and forth on the design concepts. There was a lot that went into the design. Most of my other ones were other people’s designs, but this one is mine.”

McGlone said he suggested the Greek god painting to Huber and added a depiction of the front page of the former Vindicator newspaper to the piece to localize it.

It took McGlone close to five months to complete the job and at least 200 gallons of paint.

Pictured at top: The Rica Building, downtown, now has a mural of the Greek god Apollo on its east face, and another mural on its south face.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.