Another piece of Painesville history is getting a face-lift. The former Lake County National Bank Building, known to locals as the Painesville Tower, recently changed ownership to Chardon-based developer, Renew Partners LLC.
The tower project is another step in the city’s historic downtown area revitalization master plan. Its priorities include rebuilding a diverse mix of residential, commercial and educational tenants. At the same time, they are working to preserve the city’s historic charm and increase walkability and green space.
To that end, the city has been beautifying its downtown streetscapes to improve walkability, connectivity and aesthetics. Trees, planters, improved crosswalks and brick accent elements now complement a newly relayed portion of Painesville square.
In addition, Painesville’s 25-acre downtown district was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. This honor recognizes historic buildings and sites as national resources by the U.S. National Parks Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior. In effect, the designation means that the buildings and their unique architecture will always be protected. It can also be a boon for economic development, including potential tax credits for local businesses and organizations.
According to Cathy Bieterman, economic development director, renovating the Painesville Tower will continue the city’s momentum, and she is optimistic that Renew Partners is a good match for the project. The company brings experience, including the 1888 Old Village Hall in Mentor, a 1940s former post office in Chardon and the historic Hotel Ashtabula.
“They are a great development team. We are really excited about it,” she said.
Painesville Tower, a mid-century modern architectural design, was built in 1957. An addition to the building was completed in 1965. The total projected cost is $13,952,000 and was awarded Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits of just more than $1.9 million.
In 2020, the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded more than $26 million in these credits to rehabilitate 51 historic buildings. Together, the projects are expected to leverage approximately $259 million in private investments in 11 communities.
Bieterman is counting on attracting synergistic investment in Painesville as the development progresses.
“I have no doubt this development will create additional spinoff opportunities and also attract folks from a destination standpoint into our downtown,” she says.
The city promotes a progressive and pro-business environment to potential new business. It is home to corporations that include Avery Dennison, AeroControlex, Mar-Bal Corp., Cintas, Guyer Precision, Eckart America and Meritec/Ohio Associated Enterprises LLC.
Another longstanding member of the Painesville community is Lake Erie College. Founded in 1856, it sits about a quarter-mile off of the town square and is considered an integral part of the city. A new greenway streetscape is in the works, linking the college to the downtown area with a corridor for biking, walking and accessing the Grand River.
City planners say the new streetscape will enhance the area around the Painesville Tower project, which sits on a prominent corner of the town square and near the Lake County Administration Building. The 75-foot tower holds a massive 65,000 square feet within its walls. “That’s why it’s so important to preserve and update what’s on our square,” adds Bieterman. “Retaining it means a lot to us.”