Thursday, January 16, 2014

two minute tour on the corner of Federal and Phelps

The intersection of Federal and Phelps is becoming an interesting crossroads for the rapidly changing downtown.

Just a few short years ago we had at the intersection (NW) a 1899 Daniel Burnham Building with a basket store and a record shop, (NE) another Daniel Burnham building from 1910 previously owned by the city and 13 floors sitting empty, (SW) a women's hair salon in the 1930 Art Deco Peggy Ann building, and (SE) the venerable Silver's Suit/Mensware Shop.

Here are a few shots from a two minute tour in early 2014:

Today, you have Roberto's Italian Restaurant which has opened up a beautiful stone walled subterranean expansion (check out the fireplace and mantle in the photo above)

And after the great William Leonard's Extraordinary Gentlemen (still operating downtown) moved from the Peggy Ann Building, Friends Specialty Coffee with their locally-roasted beans moved in. Here's a shot of their immersion technique for a nice weekend coffee:

The Federal Building is now complete with a very well-managed restaurant on the ground floor, with gas-fed outside heating lamps and even valet parking on the weekends along with 100% full residential spaces on the remaining floors.

The Wick Building is undergoing massive renovations with historical tax credits by the State of Ohio for more downtown housing.

And the venerable Silver's is at the corner, dressing Youngstown's finest with suits, shirts, and dress shoes.

- - -

But what we need to do is move the intersection from GOOD to GREAT...  

What are some of your suggestions to improve this intersection?

Some might include:

- removing the boarded-up grey windows from the second floor of Silver's. While the ground level is appealing, moving one story up is a different visual experience.

- removing the newspaper box chained to the tree outside of V2 which obstructs the walking path.

- fixing the brickwork along Phelps after construction, that has only been filled in haste with filler material.

- fixing the facade of the Peggy Ann Building along Phelps as one walks towards the great Touch the Moon Candy Saloon. A big chunk is removed from the side of the building.

- businesses working together to clean the sidewalk of cigarette butts and other pieces of trash that are unfortunately left by pedestrians and patrons. (side note: wonder what the cost/benefit ratio would be of stationing a police officer to issue tickets for littering between 20 Federal Place and the Downtown Circle)

- replicating the historical cornice on the top of the Wick Building, as it was originally designed.

These are just a few options for this space. 

While this intersection has come a long way from a few years ago, what else do you think can be improve there?