On the roof of the Stambaugh Building the wind whips your hair and the sun warms you.
From there you can watch Youngstown take shape as you stand on the building that is considered key to the city’s ongoing transformation.
By December 2017, the historic Stambaugh Building at 44 E. Federal St. will be home to a 134-room DoubleTree Hotel.
“It’s without question the most challenging project we have done,” said Dominic Marchionda of NYO Property Group. “It’s going to be the most rewarding. It’s a big part of the renaissance.”
Marchionda’s plan with his partners, brothers and developers James and George Pantelidis of Pan Brothers Associates, a real-estate services company in New York City, is to bring this more than 100-year-old building back to life.
What’s not known: How much will a new hotel bring to downtown Youngstown in terms of additional interest and investment?
“People feel an investment in a hotel will be a game changer [for] the community,” Marchionda said.
Marchionda and his partners started on the hotel project at the end of 2012. In 2014, they announced Marshall Hotels and Resorts Inc. would operate the hotel when it opened in 2016, but the project was delayed because of its complexity.
“It’s a very complicated process.” Marchionda said. “The financing is not the easiest of things.”
The $30 million project will receive $9 million in state and federal historic tax credits. The Western Reserve Port Authority board approved financing and sales-tax benefits for the project.
In the early 1900s, the Stambaugh Building was designed by Albert Kahn of Detroit and financed by John and George Stambaugh. The 12-story, neoclassical revival building was finished in 1907.
The Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. headquarters called the building home, while the lower three levels were occupied by the Euwer’s Department Store, according to the NYO Property Group website.
In 1967, the building was sold to Youngstown Realty Corp. and then to H.L. Libby Corp. in 1983. The building was restored in the 1980s, but would end up vacant by 2003. Marchionda, a Youngstown developer, purchased the tower in 2012. Some of his projects include the Wick Tower and the Realty Building.
“We have to start to invest in ourselves,” Marchionda said of Youngstown. “The reality is we have a special place. The people here are second to none. There’s no place like Youngstown.”
Today the Stambaugh Building is undergoing some light demolition and abatement.
The hotel’s lead architectural firm is ms consultants Inc. of Youngstown.
“Basically, we are doing the design of the interior architecture,” said Annissa Neider, project architect with ms consultants.
Along with Paul Hagman, historical architect on the project of RBF CoLab architecture and design firm of Youngstown, Neider said they discover new historic aspects of the building daily.
“As we are [demolishing], we are finding amazing details that have been covered up for decades and decades,” Neider said. “Every day we find something new.”
On Thursday, they removed a cover over the base of the storefront and found a granite wall. They also found prism glass on top of the storefront.
“It’s really exciting to peel back the layers,” Hagman said.
The historic aspects of the building, such as the terrazzo floors, will be restored.
“In a lot of ways, it will be true to the original aesthetics,” Hagman said. “It’s an updated version of what it has been.”
That rooftop where you can see the city’s transformation take place will eventually feature a rooftop bar. On the first floor of the hotel you will be able to watch the bustling city and dine at its restaurant that will feature meals made popular in Youngstown, Marchionda promises.
On the second floor, you will be able to check into a room to spend nights in downtown Youngstown. The DoubleTree will be the city’s first downtown hotel since the 1974 closing of the Voyager Motor Inn.
A groundbreaking for the new hotel will take place within the next 30 days.
“The No. 1 goal is that it has to happen,” Marchionda said.