ASHTABULA — Castle Block Properties LLC, a real estate interest with close ties to Renew Partners LLC, plans to break ground on the historic Castle Block property on May 21 in downtown Ashtabula.

The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. on Center Street, near Park Avenue.

The project includes new apartments, renovation of the retail space, demolition of a house, a parking lot and site development. With a price tag of $4 million, the project is being financed by Erie Bank, along with state and federal historic tax credits.

LDA Architects of Cleveland provided all architectural services while JCI Contractors of Ashtabula has been hired to oversee the construction.

Leading the development efforts for Castle Block Properties LLC are Chuck Borsukoff and Shawn Neece, who are also the founding members of Renew Partners LLC, a development and management company focused on redevelopment in Ashtabula, Lake and Geauga counties. Even though this project will be managed by Renew, it will be independent from their development portfolio, Borsukoff said.

Borsukoff and Neece are no strangers to garnering historic tax credits for this type of project. Renew Partners is responsible for developing the historic Hotel Ashtabula into Signature Health. They also own the building through its 4726 Main Avenue LLC affiliate. The hotel’s 55,000-square-foot historic adaptive reuse rehabilitation project is the largest in Ashtabula County’s history.

Renew’s other projects include the historic Mentor Village Hall, the historic Chardon Post Office, a Hampton Inn by Hilton, AQUA Ohio’s operations center and many others throughout northeast Ohio.

 “Our group is already heavily invested in downtown Ashtabula and own multiple properties through Renew Properties LLC, including the Hotel Ashtabula building,” Borsukoff said. “We are pleased to embark on this new development and be part of the resurgence of downtown.”

Neece said they look forward to continuing their development activities in Ashtabula.

“Historic rehabilitation and adaptive reuse projects were some of our first development projects and continue to be an important part of our real estate development activities,” he said.

The Castle Block was built along Center Street by Henry Lawton Morrison in 1898. Morrison was a dry goods merchant who was a founding director of the Farmer’s National Bank and the PY&A Railroad. He also served four terms as mayor.

Morrison occupied various buildings on Main Avenue before building the Castle Block. He named the building after his wife, Nancy Pamela Castle. The property has been managed by Morrison heirs ever since.

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