Back from the dead (again) (and again and…)

27 08 2007

Well, at least I gave everyone prior notice that I’d be taking a leave this time around. August and September are like the doldrums for me, and don’t have much time for blogging.

But after a week away from home (and a month away from the site), I was pleased to see the Vindicator profiling Lou Frangos, the man who has quietly built up his portfolio of downtown real estate. It’s refreshing to see someone with substantial capital see opportunity in downtown for once, but to say it could be great again? Given his plans, I’m not sure how.

For starters, the Wick and Realty Buildings, as you know, will become housing, with the Erie Terminal becoming YSU student housing. There will always be YSU students, but for the young urban professionals developers hoping will move in, they couldn’t have picked a worse time. The housing market is collapsing, and while retirees may possibly get a space in a high-rise Miami condominium at a cheap price, Youngstown may not fare as well.

The Paramount Theater I agree is unsalvageable, but keeping the facade and putting a parking lot in the space creates a bizarre picture in my mind; one of a load of cars shielded by a wall. It’s like saving the facade of the State Theater: I can agree with you the outside is beautiful and cannot be replicated with today’s architectural standards, but when the rest of the building is knocked down, what purpose does it really serve?

And then the Stambaugh Building offers some interesting possibilities, but could also be disappointing. On the one hand, Party on the Plaza is a popular entertainment option, but doesn’t offer much space. Demolition of Stambaugh would allow for increased space, but would also create the need for a new location for Buffalo Wild Wings, a downtown mainstay that I’d hate to see leave Fed.

I am hard to please, if you don’t already know. I am always thinking how things can be done better, and right now I can’t help brainstorming what different ways the Frangos’ properties could be used.

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7 responses

28 08 2007
Lou

I understand the hesitaiton ( We’ve been burnt sooo many times before) but I was pretty impressed by the article.

Frango gave a lot of real information, and was realistic about the prospects of the buildings. I did not get the impression that this was another high-promising, low-delivering con artist. From scaling back the project based on emerging market forces, to the brutal observation that the Paramount can’t be saved, He was pretty fair and honest.

As for this not being the best time to invest in Youngstown, I disagree completely. The fact that real estate is so cheap here is it’s own insurance against risk and loss. A condo in Miami can be bought for$1.2Million one year, sold for $1.8 million the next and be worth $900,000 the next. That can’t happen in Youngstown. It’s one of the reasons I get so frustrated that our vaunted local real estate moguls never seem to invest locally.

7 09 2007
Jaime

Hello! My name is Jaime, I’m co-creator of Patrons of Youngstown Arts, who began the Save the State Theater Facade Campaign. You brought up very many valid points in your article about the differences between the arcitectural details of today and 40 years ago. The State Theater building is far gone, trust us…we already attempted to save that also. They said to renovate the State, it would cost double what it was to build the Convocation Centre. The only reason we felt that the facade should still stand is because, it has a beautiful streetscape appearance. If we tear down everything and rebuild all new…all of those beautiful details, historic factors…everything is gone. Then what do we have to offer?

We are also working on other projects on the Northside that will help realtors with mansions and that, to keep the historical factor of them!

Thank you!

4 10 2007
Katie

When I started school at YSU in 2004, reports and officials were all saying downtown housing was in the works and would “soon” be available. Now, I’m gearing up to graduate and haven’t seen any work done to make any downtown building ready for YSU students to move into. 😦

I’d love to see it happen, but I’m getting really sick of this guy and the other “developers” who buy downtown space, let it sit and rot, decide it’s not worth it, then sell it… that’s what’s happened to get it the way it is.

We should be able to hold this people accountable, make them follow through with plans, or at least set realistic time tables. They shouldn’t be heralded as heroes any longer for NOT doing anything!

19 11 2008
LOTGK

Looks like you abandoned the ytown blog. Alas, tis like many real life citizens.

16 03 2009
Stephanie

BE ON THE LOOKOUT…professional basketball team for the American Basketball Association coming to the area in December 2009…the Youngstown Swish…COMING SOON!!!

5 10 2010
emlak

Frango gave a lot of real information, and was realistic about the prospects of the buildings. I did not get the impression that this was another high-promising, low-delivering con artist. From scaling back the project based on emerging market forces, to the brutal observation that the Paramount can’t be saved, He was pretty fair and honest.

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