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90-year-old building eyes a new future

NILES — A nearly 90-year-old bank and office building in downtown Niles, considered by many as a historic staple to the downtown area, soon could be converted for new uses like restaurants, a brewery or downtown apartments.

Those were just a few of the suggested uses that were tossed about last week during an open house showcasing the history and potential future for the structure located at the corner of South Main Street and West Park Avenue.

Built in 1929, the building now known as the Niles Professional Building opened with The Niles Trust Company as the building’s first occupant. That financial institution’s large vault still remains on the building’s first floor.

The building now is being marketed for sale, and Realtor Jason Altobelli is hoping to start conversations about the building’s future.

“This building is a historic feature of this community, and it’s essential to re-envision and to preserve it for the future,” Altobelli said.

Audrey John, curator of the nearby Ward Thomas Museum agreed.

“I’m hoping this building gets turned around. I hope it gets preserved because it’s a well-known building,” she said.

Thursday’s open house allowed the public to tour the building, which is the city’s tallest structure. Community members and interested investors have suggested restaurants, a brewery and apartments for the building’s available space.

“We’re excited about sparking some interest in the downtown area. Hopefully we get some interested investors with some creativity and vision,” said Niles Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz. “The city and the chamber of commerce will do what we can to aid the development of the building.”

Mike Coppola, an employee with Warren Wireless, attended the open house, scoping it out as potential office space.

“This building could bring a lot of opportunity to small businesses in the area,” Coppola said. “That’s what I support, small business.”

According to records maintained by the Trumbull County Auditor’s office, the Niles Professional Building is owned by City Bank Investment, a limited liability company that was incorporated in 1996 by Donald J. and Karen A. Barrett of Kent. The auditor’s office lists the market value of the 35,000-square-foot structure at $134,800.