When the developers of the new DoubleTree by Hilton downtown started on the project in 2012, they were working with a building in severe disrepair.
Entire walls of the historic Stambaugh Building were gone. Windows were broken. Brass fixtures were missing from staircases. Ceilings were falling apart. Beams were exposed. The smell of stale smoke infested the top floor.
“It was so neglected,” recalled Jackie Marchionda, designer for development company NYO Property Group. “As bad as you can imagine.”
A decade ago, there even was talk of demolishing the building at 44 E. Federal St. that was constructed in 1907 and which later served as Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.’s corporate headquarters.
On Wednesday, project leaders unveiled their work to bring the building brought back to life. The first hotel to operate in downtown Youngstown since the 1970s officially opened for business, and sold out its first night.
“We’re proud to give this to you, the city,” said Dominic Marchionda, NYO Property Group CEO and Jackie’s husband. “All I can say is, welcome back to Youngstown.”
The 12-floor hotel features 125 guest rooms, two restaurants, a coffee shop, a 24-hour lobby market, 24-hour fitness center, business center, and meeting spaces, including the top-floor Palladian Ballroom featuring views of the city from every side of the room.
NYO, with NYC-based partner Pan Brother Associates, invested $32 million into restoring the building.
The interior design was inspired by what project leaders uncovered beneath layers of grime and neglect.
They found terrazzo floors, for example, that had been covered up. Jackie started from there and worked within the Hilton design standards.
“I wanted to respect the history of the building and highlight the architecture, but I wanted it to be fresh,” she said. “A clean, fresh, elegant look is what I was going for.”
The hotel incorporates elements of the historic architecture.
“You’ll see all the terrazzo that was lined in brass,” Jackie said. “You’ll see the marble wainscotting on the walls and in the corridors.”
Annissa Neider, lead architect on the project for MS Consultants of Youngstown, said one complication was transforming a former office building into a hotel with uniform rooms. The result of the building layout is that many of the rooms are a little different from one another.
A technology conference at Youngstown State University helped sell out the hotel’s first night in business. Introductory rates will be offered at first. Dominic Marchionda previously said the average room price would be about $129.
Self-parking is available for $10 at an adjacent lot and a parking deck in the back.
Bistro 1907, one of the hotel’s restaurants, is slated to open to the public next week. The upscale restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Owner/chef Mark Canzonetta described the food as American, with a global influence and local ingredients.
YOSTERIA, owned by Alex Zordich, will serve Italian cuisine. Zordich said he expects to open the hotel restaurant this summer.
Local civic and business officials who were invited to tour the hotel Wednesday lauded the project and what it will mean to the continued revitalization of downtown Youngstown.
Branch Street Coffee also plans to open its hotel location this summer.
“I truly believe that this is just the first phase of what’s to come,” said Terrill Vidale, city events and special projects director. “This is going to be one of the memorable days in the city of Youngstown.”
Originally published by the Youngstown Vindicator and written by Jordyn Grzelewski.