ASHTABULA — The Ashtabula Main Avenue Historic District is being considered by the Ohio Site Preservation Advisory Board for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, according to Renew Partners LLC, a real estate developer in northeast Ohio.
The Register is the federal government’s official list of historic properties and districts worthy of preservation. Listing in the National Register provides recognition for and assists with preserving the nation’s heritage. Renew applied for the nomination last summer, said Shawn Neece of Renew.
This district will include both sides of Main Ave between the former Municipal Building on the north side and the former Hotel Ashtabula building on the south.
“This listing would be vital for the preservation of current and future buildings on Main Avenue and will allow all building owners within the proposed district to obtain tax incentives,” Neece said. “Renew has gained great support from the city of Ashtabula and the Ashtabula Downtown Development Association during this process.”
City Council President John Roskovics said this is an exciting development.
“Main Avenue has some wonderful buildings and trying to preserve them is great,” he said. “There are many interesting and unique architectural features in that area. I hope these efforts are successful.”
Neece said a vibrant Main Avenue is good for the project, downtown and the entire city.
“This district will assist in preserving the great historic buildings up and down Main Avenue and will unlock tax incentives, such as federal and state credits, for future development downtown,” he said.
Renew Partners is heavily invested in downtown Ashtabula. Through its affiliate, 4726 Main Ave., they own the historic Hotel Ashtabula which is now home to Signature Health. The 55,000-square foot rehabilitation project is the largest in Ashtabula County’s history.
Renew has also acquired more buildings within the proposed district, including the former Carlisle-Allen Department Store building, the adjoining Masonic Temple building, and the historic Castle Block property on Center Street — a property that is not part of the proposed Historic District.
Pre-development plans are well underway for the Carlisle-Allen/Masonic Temple project, Neece said.
Roskovics said area residents have great affection for and memories of Main Avenue.
“What a fantastic thing it would be if this would come to fruition and that area could become a show place,” he said.
Renew is working with Cleveland-based LDA Architects for the design and Ashtabula-based builder, JCI Contractors, for pre- construction and construction services, Neece said.
“The 165,000-square foot project comes with a price tag of nearly $30 million and will include apartments and retail,” he said.
Several blocks away on Center Street, pre-construction efforts have begun on the Castle Block property.
“The Castle Block Building is an important part of Ashtabula history and is listed on the Register,” he said.
The project team is preparing for interior demolition and construction. This project was awarded state and federal historic tax credits.
“Our group is already invested in downtown Ashtabula and own multiple properties, including the Hotel Ashtabula building on Main Avenue,” said Chuck Borsukoff of Renew. “Doing the work and investing the funds necessary to create this district both assists our projects and allows us to give back to the downtown community and all of Ashtabula.”