YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Youngstown’s historic Parkway Tower Apartment building is falling apart, but Youngstown’s fire chief, who has the authority to order it torn down, has put the demolition on hold for now.

Pat Rosenthal and Jim Converse are the leaders of Common Wealth Inc., which oversees what’s happening around Youngstown’s Wick Park neighborhood. They’re both in agreement it’s time to demolish the Parkway Tower Apartment building.

“It’s tragic, but I think it really just has to be demolished,” Rosenthal said.

“I’ll be sad it wasn’t fixed up and maintained, but I’ll be glad to see it gone,” Converse said.

Built in 1929, the eight-story Parkway Tower is a short walk from Stambaugh Auditorium.

The structure is now owned by a company called Simcha Vashulem of Brooklyn, New York, which is making money on cellphone towers on the roof that must be dealt with before demolition can take place. The company also owes $20,000 in back taxes.

“It’s an LLC that’s making money off the towers but neglecting the building and not paying the taxes or being a responsible corporation,” said Rosenthal said.

Over the weekend, bricks broke away from the upper facade, destroying a Lexus parked below. There are other cracks that appear as if they could give way at any time.

Youngstown fire chief Barry Finley on Tuesday ordered a fence erected around the building to keep people away.

Youngstown’s code enforcement superintendent Mike Durkin will try contacting the owners to see if they can secure the building.

Because of the cell phone towers and the high cost of demolition, Finley has not yet issued an emergency demolition removal order. However, he said it’s still very much an option.

Anchor/reporter Stan Boney: “What they need to do first is find someplace to put those cell phone towers, right?”
Converse: “They need to stop paying him for it so he stops. It’ll be a process of getting it away from him.”

“The building by itself is not going to fall down. But with rocks and bricks falling off of it, that’s a hazard,” Finley said. “If those cracks get bigger and they let go, that facade could fall off. We could have problems.”