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From the 11/17/06 Daily Kent Stater:

 

 

Green light given for Plum Creek Apartments

Theresa Montgomery

Issue date: 11/17/06 Section: News

 

 

 

this is going to be garbage. the p&z committee should never have allowed this to pass. the gave an approval even though it does not have the public green space required by the city code. there is no thought to public transportation, or even, god forbid, walking anywhere as they were not required to put in sidewalks in and out of the development. this is more low-income housing next to the existing indian village, not good news for the development of that area of kent/brimfield.

 

Kent Hotel hazards cited

Crumbling mortar, rusting supports found

December 26, 2006

By Matt Fredmonsky 6)

 

this is not good news. my friend is doing some of the demo work here and i have been in it (only at night unfortunately). the spaces are great, and there is a lot of potential, but with the repairs sited in this article, it might be more economically feasible for the owner to just let the city foreclose on the building and have a new developer come in, get some incentives and tax breaks, and renovate the rest of the building.

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From the 4/26/07 Record-Courier:

 

 

Ravenna ready to build new school

Tentative groundbreaking set for May

By Jason De Leon

Record-Courier staff writer

 

The Ravenna School District is one step closer to a tentative groundbreaking in late May of a $25 million high school.

 

The Ravenna Board of Education has opened bids for the first phase of construction of the 158,000-square-foot building, to be located off North Chestnut Street near the district's athletic complex.

 

"We are hoping to take advantage of the early building season," Superintendent Tim Calfee said.

 

Relocating a half acre of wetlands at the south end of the site has prompted a delay in the groundbreaking process, which was set for April...

 

http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/1914801

 

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From the 5/10/07 Record-Courier:

 

 

RMH buys dealership's 13 acres in Streetsboro

By Miles Jung-Kilbreath

Record-Courier staff writer

 

STREETSBORO -- Don Joseph Toyota has agreed to sell 13 acres of land in the center of town between S.R. 14 and S.R. 43 to Robinson Memorial Hospital, which plans to build a Medical Arts facility in the city, according to Robinson Memorial representative Rick Clough.

 

"We have been wanting to consolidate our branches in Streetsboro and want to have a bigger presence in the city," Clough said.

 

According to City Planning Director Linda Kovacs, plans for Don Joseph to build a new car dealership at the center of town fell through.

 

A sign at the car dealership's location on West Main Street in Kent's Auto Mile indicates the dealership does not plan to move from the city...

 

http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/1980562

 

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From the 5/27/07 Record-Courier:

 

 

PHOTO 1  Photo By Timothy St. Hillaire/Record-Courier

 

PHOTO 2

 

Hundreds help break ground for new Ravenna High

By Jason De Leon

Record-Courier staff writer

 

Shrugging off a pouring rain, hundreds gathered Saturday morning to break ground on the new $25 million Ravenna High School.

 

Community members grabbed their shovels, positioned themselves around a 158,000-square-foot painted outline of the new school, located off North Chestnut Street near the district's athletic complex, and dug in.

 

While seeking cover from the rainfall under a large tent Saturday morning, Trysha Perry, a sixth-grader at Rausch Intermediate School said, "I look forward to be in the first class to go all the way through the high school."...

 

http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/2057311

 

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From the 5/30/07 Record-Courier:

 

 

Plaza, Cascades eye new development

By Deborah Guziak

Record-Courier staff writer

 

BRIMFIELD -- Brimfield Plaza and The Cascades will be seeing new construction this summer.

 

Preliminary site plans for Robinson Medical Center, which will be located behind Brimfield Plaza, have been approved.

 

The 6,400-square-foot building will be located about 200 feet from where Kelso Drive now ends, said Planning Director Richard Messner.

 

The center will feature two doctors' offices and six examination rooms...

 

http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/2063882

 

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Brimfield faces task of keeping charm amid fast growth

As buildings rise from farmland, township navigates tricky issues of planning, revenue, new services

By Paula Schleis, Beacon Journal business writer

Published on Sunday, Sep 09, 2007

 

BRIMFIELD TWP: It's late afternoon on Thursday, half an hour before BrimFest opens.

 

The rides are in place but still. Vendors are holed up in their trailers, preparing waffle batter and corn dogs.

 

But it won't be quiet for long.

 

The activity that will soon consume this peaceful park next to town hall is . . . inevitable.

 

It's a moment in time that mirrors the community itself.

 

Brimfield Township, a sleepy rural haven that has long avoided development despite having two interstate interchanges within its borders, is on the verge of becoming the region's next super township.

 

more at: http://www.ohio.com

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''We think there's a lot of growth coming,'' Schipper said.

 

New construction growth? Absolutely. New population growth to sustain that new construction? Nope. :roll:

 

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If anything, I think it will hurt the Chapel Hill area.  Around Akron, it seems like every three or four years a different township has a mess of chain stores go up seemingly overnight.  Seven or eight years ago it happened it Streetsboro, a few years later it happened in Macedonia, and now it is happening in Brimfield.  While I was attending Kent, Brimfield seemed to be very rural, but when I drive through it now it seems unrecognizable.

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Downtown Kent, Ohio, rising Phoenix-like as city, KSU and businesses coalesce

By Jim Nichols, The Plain Dealer

November 26, 2009, 9:47PM

 

KENT, Ohio -- Ron Burbick grew up near here and grew rich here. Then, in retirement, he grew restless here.

 

Now, the multimillionaire is driving a renaissance amid recession here.

 

Burbick is among a handful of emergent and recently arrived leaders bringing a burst of life to the downtrodden downtown of this challenged college town.

 

Full story at:

 

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/11/downtown_kent_ohio_rising_phoe.html

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Tell me about it. Seems like this was much more typical among the wealthy back in the day, but now they mostly just build themselves fortresses out in the exurbs. Good to see that some don't just have lots of money, but culture too.

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Kent companies eye downtown project

 

Davey Tree, Ametek planning to anchor new development

 

By Paula Schleis

Beacon Journal staff writer

 

KENT: The Davey Tree Expert Co. may move 70 employees back downtown, becoming a high-profile anchor for two new commercial/retail buildings about to rise from the demolished remains of a blighted block.

 

Another longtime Kent employer — Ametek Lamb Electric Co. — has also signed a letter of intent to lease space in the development, moving about 80 employees from its current Lake Street home.

 

http://www.ohio.com/news/93049814.html

 

rendering there also

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Hurdles to raze block remain: Kent planning redevelopment

 

By Matt Fredmonsky

Record-Courier staff writer

 

The city of Kent and its development partners, who are planning to revamp an entire downtown block, have a few hurdles yet to clear before demolition crews can begin preparing the block for new construction.

 

Among the hurdles are final approvals of both a land exchange agreement between the city and Kent State University and a $300,000 funding appropriation for demolition of buildings within the block.

 

http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/4828169

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KSU OKs $3 million for hotel downtown

 

Matt Fredmonsky

about 7 hours ago

 

By Matt Fredmonsky | staff writer

 

If there were any remaining concerns about Kent State University’s commitment to downtown Kent’s redevelopment efforts, those worries were put to rest Wednesday.

 

At a special meeting in downtown Cleveland, the KSU Board of Trustees formally committed to investing $3 million in hotel and conference center facilities with Columbus hotelier The Pizzuti Companies as part of the city’s efforts to redevelop a large portion of downtown.

 

Previously, the university’s trustees had endorsed the idea of investing $3 million in the project but had not formally approved it. The resolution passed Wednesday commits the university to investing up to, but no more than, $3 million in the hotel and conference center facilities.

 

http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/4895370

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Downtown demolition underway

Written by Kate Sheafer Tuesday, 28 September 2010 19:13

 

Mangled steel, wooden planks and giant holes have replaced the Rock Café and Our Father’s House Family Church, marking the first building demolitions of Kent’s downtown revitalization project.

 

Workers began the project’s first phase on Friday by knocking down the familiar buildings on South Water Street, paving the way for a new downtown.

 

“There’s an incredible amount of excitement generated out in the community,” Dan Smith, Kent economic development director said. “With the demolitions, you really get a sense of the magnitude of this project.” While dump trucks haul the remaining debris from the first buildings, crews will continue to prepare the remaining five structures for demolition.

 

Read More...

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Transit center will go in Kent

 

Eminent domain case settled for Portage RTA to build bus complex

By Paula Schleis

Beacon Journal staff writer

 

Construction on a new $26 million transit center in Kent can begin now that an eminent domain case has been settled out of court.

 

The Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority will pay $775,000 to obtain the Car Parts Warehouse property at 115 S. Depeyster St.

 

http://www.ohio.com/news/116456943.html

 

This doesn't explain to well how much of the area they are taking. It looks like the Firestone garage, but there is also a frat house next to that and Euro Gyro building around it that I would think they would need to take down also.

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^I am pretty sure that Euro Gyro and all of the frats are safe from demo. Most of the frats sold off their parking lots (I believe one refused to sell, but eventually decided to sell) and I don't think the transit center will take up the entire block.

 

I think the following is the area that the transit center will take up:

 

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&ll=41.152845,-81.355616&spn=0.002343,0.004823&t=h&z=18&msid=212094344421687032104.00049c924e5d4d5487415

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They can demolish that Firestone store for all I care. They did a tune-up on my car in March 1989 and then I drove with a friend to a meeting in Indianapolis the next day. In the middle of nowhere between Columbus and Springfield, two spark plugs shot out of the engine block at speed, spraying gasoline all over the hot engine block and active spark plugs! It was a horribly loud sound hearing the INSIDE of the engine! I was stranded on the side of the highway for two hours as the sun set, working the CB radio (yes this was before cell phones) and trying to get someone to pull over. First, a semi truck pulled over. The driver had some vice grips but couldn't get the spark plugs back into the engine. Then, a pick-up truck pulled over. He had more tools but couldn't force the sparkplugs back in either because the plugs' threads were too badly stripped in two ways -- the first apparently was by Firestone employees the day before, which is why the plugs worked their way out of the engine block. The pickup's driver said he could tow me into Springfield. I asked how, and he pulled a lever on his truck, causing a hydraulic towing apparatus to unfold from the bed of his pickup! Turns out he was a repo man and hid the towing apparatus because he would get threats a lot from people who recognized his old tow truck. My friend and I rode in the truck's cab, while we bounced down I-70 at 95 mph as the driver cranked the band "America" on his stereo. We arrived in Springfield just after dark, and with the benefit of only a flashlight, we used two spare spark plugs he had and forced them into the engine block. There was no guarantee they would stay in there for the rest of the trip however. Talk about nerve-wracking!!! But they managed to stay in the rest of the way into Indianapolis, and the whole back to Cleveland.

 

I went back to Firestone on Monday and they tapped new threads into the engine block and installed new spark plugs at their expense. I got a less-than half-hearted apology from the manager. And that was the last time I ever set foot in a Firestone store, almost 22 years ago. Seems like only a few years ago.

 

Anyway, please keep me posted on this project as I may go to Kent for the demolition of the Firestone store so I can pee on the rubble.

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PARTA breaks ground on transit center: Kent facility cited as an example of the region "roaring back'

 

By Thomas Gallick | Staff Writer

 

Heavy rain drenched Kent on Monday, but couldn’t dampen the spirits of the officials gathered at the groundbreaking for the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority’s new downtown-Kent transit center.

“It may be a little gloomy outside, but the sun is shining on Kent, Ohio today and with good reason,” said Max Blachman, regional representative for Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office.

Blachman said the project was one example of the region “roaring back...despite what others might say.”

 

http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/5010986

 

Court site options debated: Forum draws 150, but no agreement on idea of moving new facility out of Kent

 

By MIKE SEVER | STAFF WRITER

 

Speakers at a special public meeting of Portage County commissioners held Monday generally conceded that the county municipal court in Kent is inadequate and needs to be replaced.

But there is still no agreement on where the new facility should be.

State law requires that a branch of the county municipal court be located in Kent. County commissioners have not been able to agree on a site that meets the location, size and cost criteria.

 

http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/5010984

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2012 downtown renovations bring in new business

Written by Nick Walton

 

http://kentwired.com/2012-downtown-renovations-bring-in-new-business/

 

 

Nine new restaurants will be coming to Kent by the end of 2012 as part of the downtown revitalization project.

 

The city and development partner Fairmount Properties announced the restaurants at a press conference Monday along with the signing of Davey Tree Expert Company and AMETEK to 15-year leases that will anchor downtown space.

 

The two companies will join 11 retail and restaurant properties that will open in locations owned by Fairmount around Haymaker Parkway and South Water Street.

 

The properties include Bricco, Aladdin’s Eatery, Dino Palmieri Salon and Spa, Shop 42 Clothing, Panini’s Bar and Grill, Dave’s Cosmic Subs, Asian Chow, Nature’s Table Cafe, Einstein Brother’s Bagels, Market Path and Rockin’ Taco.

 

Randy Ruttenberg, principal of Fairmount Properties, said the remaining vacancies will be filled with specialty retail stories with a focus on non-food uses.

 

 

 

WITH VIDEO: Kent officials celebrate city's revitalization downtown

By Ben Wolford | Staff Writer

 

http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/5019679

 

It was more of a celebration than a press conference.

 

Dan Smith, Kent’s economic development director, played emcee in Kent City Council chambers Monday afternoon, unveiling the latest developments in the city’s revitalization project.

 

“We’re really setting the table for the next 50 years,” City Manager David Ruller said.

 

One of the developers, Fairmount Properties, reached a linchpin agreement with two area corporations, Davey Tree and Ametek, late Friday. Their signatures on a 15-year lease for downtown property clear the path for construction to start within weeks.

 

Fairmount Properties of Cleveland partnered with Premier Construction to build the $25 million structure at Haymaker Parkway and South Water Street that will house corporate offices for the two anchor tenants.

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Kent presses county to move court

 

City wants to buy site on East Main. Official says parking is a factor

 

By Paula Schleis

Beacon Journal staff writer

 

KENT: City officials have not given up trying to persuade Portage County Commissioners to build a new municipal courthouse on a site they had largely dismissed.

 

Kent is prepared to purchase the vacant land in the 300 block of East Main Street, valued at about $1 million, and give it to the county in exchange for the current courthouse site on South Water Street, valued at about $750,000, officials said.

 

http://www.ohio.com/news/121762934.html

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Medical school prepares for more research

 

New building will house center for education, study on campus in Rootstown

 

By Cheryl Powell

Beacon Journal medical writer

 

ROOTSTOWN TWP.: The region's medical school is breaking further into research, commercialization and job creation.

 

To reach these goals, the Northeast Ohio Medical University broke ground Monday for a $42 million Research and Graduate Education building on its Rootstown Township campus.

 

http://www.ohio.com/news/121977148.html

 

110516neoucom05.th.jpg

 

 

Kent zoning board OKs plans for hotel

 

By Ben Wolford | Staff Writer

 

Plans for a Kent State University hotel and conference center are OK by the Board of Zoning Appeals, board members said Monday.

 

To clear one of the last lines of red tape, representatives from the hotel's developers requested a variance to a zoning provision that requires 70 percent frontage along a downtown section of Haymaker Parkway. Only 24.5 percent of the triangular-shaped hotel would front Haymaker Parkway once it's finished in 2012.

 

http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/5036425

 

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Kent approves student housing

 

City Council allows zone change for 596-bed complex despite objections from some neighbors

 

By Paula Schleis

Beacon Journal staff writer

 

KENT: The City Council changed a neighborhood's zoning designation to allow for a 596-bed student apartment complex despite residents' fears that the dense housing will ruin the largely single-family neighborhood.

 

Officials spent months considering a request by Edwards Communities Development Co. to create a ''residential redevelopment overlay district'' that would allow for student housing on a 10-acre tract bordered by South Lincoln Street, East Summit Street and Morris Road.

 

http://www.ohio.com/news/122284289.html

 

rendering there

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KSU, Kent collaborate on walkway extension

 

University and city share investments in downtown development projects that could benefit both financially

 

By Carol Biliczky

Beacon Journal staff writer

 

KENT: For decades Kent State has been cut off from downtown thanks to a four-lane bypass lined with chain-link fence. But that's poised to change.

 

The university has bought up enough properties to extend its esplanade — or walkway — from campus into the heart of a $100 million redevelopment project that aims to turn downtown Kent into a mecca for students, residents and visitors.

 

http://www.ohio.com/news/local-news/ksu-kent-collaborate-on-walkway-extension-1.215625

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Portage commissioners approve new courthouse site

 

By Paula Schleis

Beacon Journal staff writer

Published: August 2, 2011 - 11:32 PM

 

KENT: Portage County Commissioners ended the courthouse controversy Tuesday, agreeing to build a facility on the site city officials favored.

 

The unanimous vote accepted a plan that calls for Kent to purchase the vacant land at 303 E. Main St., just east of downtown, and give it to the county in exchange for the current courthouse site on South Water Street.

 

The Main Street property is valued at about $1 million; the current courthouse is valued at about $750,000.

 

http://www.ohio.com/news/local-news/portage-commissioners-approve-new-courthouse-site-1.227861

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KSU hotel to be independent

 

Foundation decides franchise costs are too expensive for new $13 million center, which will break ground this month

 

By Carol Biliczky

Beacon Journal staff writer

Published: September 12, 2011 - 12:49 AM

 

The hotel to be built by the Kent State University Foundation will not be part of a national franchise after all.

 

Gene Finn, executive director of the foundation and vice president for institutional advancement at KSU, said board members decided it would be cheaper and better for the hotel to be a unique “boutique.”

 

Groundbreaking is planned for Sept. 19. The hotel should be finished in December 2012, the last of the pieces of the revitalization to be completed.

 

http://www.ohio.com/news/local-news/ksu-hotel-to-be-independent-1.234608

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Ground Broken for New Hotel and Conference Center

 

Another big milestone in the $100-million redevelopment of downtown Kent, Ohio, was achieved with the groundbreaking of the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center on Sept. 19. The project is a partnership between the Kent State University Foundation and the Pizzuti Companies of Columbus, Ohio. Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton joined members of the Kent State University Foundation Board of Directors, developer and Kent State alumnus Ron Pizzutti of the Pizzuti Companies and Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala to celebrate the special occasion with members of the Kent community, elected officials and university representatives.

 

http://www.kent.edu/news/announcements/success/ground-broken-hotel.cfm

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This also housed a very popular nightclub in the 1980s called the Townhouse. I can't tell you how many times I went there when I was a KSU student in 1985-89. And my hazy memory isn't merely from my frequent visits! Anyway, it's great to see the progress happening in downtown Kent.....

 

Deal for Kent Hotel?

Kyle McDonald

Oct. 20, 2011

 

Kent City Council has made an offer to buy the old hotel in downtown Kent.

 

Council unanimously approved the $735,000 offer Wednesday, with an additional $25,000 set aside for closing costs, bringing the total price tag to $760,000.

 

Construction began on the hotel in 1919, with the project being spearheaded by a group of about 200 Kent residents who raised $150,000 worth of stock, equivalent to about $1.87 million today, to finance it.

 

Less than two years later, it was sold on the auction block for $92,000.

 

The landmark hotel, which sits at the intersection of East Main and DePeyster streets, has sat vacant for the greater part of the past decade.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.recordpub.com/news/article/5112259?page=0

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At least 5 years ago that building was deemed unsafe by the City Engineer. There was an investor who gutted it and was going to make it into student housing, but it would have required and enormous amount of unanticipated structural work. Back then the only real option was to tear it down, which is what I suspect the City will do.

 

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Former Kent Hotel, sold twice in a week, ready for major renovation

By Paula Schleis

Beacon Journal staff writer

Published: November 5, 2011 - 07:09 AM

 

The pigeons will have to find somewhere else to live.

 

The former Kent Hotel has been sold twice in the last week, and just like that, a long-vacant and largely condemned building that has frustrated city officials for 30 years is poised to become downtown’s next jewel.

 

The upper floors of the five-story building have stood empty since 1979, and condemned for nearly as long.

 

Two bottom floors haven’t been occupied for 11 years.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.ohio.com/news/local/former-kent-hotel-sold-twice-in-a-week-ready-for-major-renovation-1.243870

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Former Kent Hotel, sold twice in a week, ready for major renovation

By Paula Schleis

Beacon Journal staff writer

Published: November 5, 2011 - 07:09 AM

 

The pigeons will have to find somewhere else to live.

 

The former Kent Hotel has been sold twice in the last week, and just like that, a long-vacant and largely condemned building that has frustrated city officials for 30 years is poised to become downtown’s next jewel.

 

The upper floors of the five-story building have stood empty since 1979, and condemned for nearly as long.

 

Two bottom floors haven’t been occupied for 11 years.

 

READ MORE AT:

http://www.ohio.com/news/local/former-kent-hotel-sold-twice-in-a-week-ready-for-major-renovation-1.243870

 

This is wonderful news! This building is one of the first things you see when going downtown (from the east) and its renovation will do wonders for the immediate impression of Downtown Kent.

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Let me first set the era with some background music by Mr. Mister, that I listened to while at Kent in the Fall of 1985....

 

 

Kent is near and dear to me. My sister started at Kent State in 1983, so I often drove down there to pick her up and take her back home, and drive her back to school on Sunday nights. Two years later, I started at Kent State, where my sister and I shared an off-campus, 2BR condo that was an easy walk to lots of places on campus and to downtown. I attended KSU classes for four years (except in my last year which is why it was my last year at KSU). Although I attended Myers College in downtown Cleveland afterwards, I still had friends at KSU and most were younger than me. So I kept coming back to Kent regularly until one of my best friends graduated in 1992 (the same year I graduated!). I spent a lot of time in Kent over those nine years.

 

A few years ago, I visited Kent and the downtown was looking pretty tired, like many small town downtowns in Ohio. If it wasn't for the University, it might have gone the way of Alliance which is virtually abandoned. One of Kent's last non-university major employers was the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad which had a major railyard at Kent, with rail car servicing/maintenance facilities, and perhaps 1,000 well-paid workers. It was closed in 1976 after E-L was absorbed into Conrail. Another was Davey Tree Co., which was headquartered on the northern edge of the city, hidden away in a forested campus. One more employer is Ametek, located northeast of the city on Lake Street. Downtown Kent had seen much better days. I thought I had seen the last of them 20+ years ago.

 

Now, the tired downtown is undergoing a major makeover. Davey Tree Co. is moving its headquarters downtown. So is Ametek's electromechanical division. And even Kent State University is moving downtown -- or, more accurately, moving toward downtown. It is buying houses as they come on the market, tearing them down and putting up buildings west of South Lincoln Street, which was the campus' western boundary (and the street I lived on for four years!). Soon, it will be difficult to tell where downtown Kent ends and Kent State University begins.

 

And Kent is a BIG school. It has 27,855 students on its main campus, plus about 1,800 administrative staff and 1,600 academic staff. Plus Kent State has numerous distance-learning programs in partnership with NE Ohio universities including the University of Akron to which it is connected by an as-yet unused rail line owned by the Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority.

 

OK, to orient the unfamiliar, the east-west main street in Kent is.... Main Street! The main north-south street is Water Street. When traveling away from this intersection, the streets add the directional titles such as West Main, East Main, South Water, North Water.

 

On Jan. 12, I was on my way back to Cleveland from Youngstown and took a slight detour through my old stomping grounds. I was so impressed by all the construction that I had to take pictures and share them with you. Lots of pictures!

 

Let's start with the old downtown structures, including this 1920s silent movie house on East Main. They used to show second-run movies here when I went to KSU in the 80s. Now a little bit of everything happens here, including Earth Day festivals where I gave a presentation on rail development a couple of years ago....

 

Kent-011212023s.jpg

 

 

Across East Main Street was the old Franklin Hotel, which I never knew by that name. It was always called The Townhouse, as that was the nightclub which occupied the first floor and basement. Its upper-floors were vacant since 1979, and the rest of the building went vacant in the 1990s. It actually looks better than it did only a few years ago as the city purchased it last fall to preserve it and then resold it to developer Ron Burbick whose name has become very familiar in the city lately. You'll soon see why....

 

Kent-011212021s.jpg

 

 

Looking west on West Main Street from Water Street (center of town), you can see the rail line owned by Akron Metro RTA to downtown Akron, then the bridge over the Cuyahoga River and the busy CSX freight railroad between Chicago and the East Coast. Just beyond the bridge is State Route 43 north to Cleveland and south to Canton....

 

Kent-011212014s.jpg

 

 

A little bit south of Main on Water Street (yep, South Water -- you're catching on!) are these cool, old buildings that were refurbished in the past decade. I don't remember exactly when. But on the other side of this building is The Loft, which is what it was called when I went to Kent. There's also Taco Tonto's and Ray's -- each of which were going strong back in the '80s too....

 

Kent-011212013s.jpg

 

 

And just a little bit farther south of the above picture are these great old buildings that are in pretty good shape, which is a relatively new thing in town these days. After many of the mom-n-pop furniture, hardware, home furnishings, and other stores closed downtown in the late-1980s and into 1990s after big-box stores opened nearby, the future of downtown looked pretty bleak. But these kinds of buildings started gaining a new lease on life as college students began to appreciate historic, walkable places like downtown Kent....

 

Kent-011212012s.jpg

 

 

If Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" has ended, start up this song by The Cars, Tonight She Comes (which came out in early 1986 -- yes, my memory from that era is THAT good!) and resume the photo tour....

 

 

 

A little bit farther south of the above buildings in the heart of downtown on South Water Street, but north of State Route 59 bypass (Haymaker Parkway) are these next six photos. Some orientation first: Main Street was Route 59 until the 1960s when it was rerouted a few blocks south of downtown as Haymaker on a bridge over both sets of railroad tracks and the Cuyahoga. Anyway... these views are of the new headquarters offices for Davey Tree Co. and the electromechanical division of Ametek Corp. bringing 500 jobs downtown! This view is of the Ametek building looking east from South Water....

 

Kent-011212004s.jpg

 

 

It's apparent that this is the Ametek office building that points north toward the heart of downtown. To the left, east, will be ground floor retail/restaurants going up the Erie Streetalley I used to park on quite often (a couple of college-time stories here I don't care to share publicly!)....

 

Kent-011212009s.jpg

 

 

This what the Davey Tree building will look like (looking north up South Water Street from Haymaker Parkway (SR59) toward downtown when it's scheduled to be completed in the Fall of 2012....

 

41811DaveyHaymakerWater.jpg

 

 

This is the Davey Tree building which will have ground-floor retail/restaurants. Fairmount is the developer of both office buildings valued at $25 million total....

 

Kent-011212003s.jpg

 

Kent-011212005s.jpg

 

 

OK, one more view of the Ametek (right) and Davey Tree (left) buildings as seen looking west from Haymaker (Route 59 bypass) and Depeyster....

 

Kent-011212020s.jpg

 

 

Remember Erie Street alley I mentioned before? At the east end of it is Depeyster Street. Erie and Depeyster intersect in the background, just past the chain-link fence around a large nightclub, called the Barn. Back in my day it was called Filthy McNasty's and then The Shark Club. The drinking age was 19 for beer back then, so it was always so jammed with students you could barely move in there. But if you got there early enough in the evening before it got too crowded it was quite a meat market and a fun place to dance to songs by INXS, Paul Lekakis, George Michael, OMD, Dead or Alive and, yes, The Cars. In the distance is the old Franklin Hotel....

 

100_5417.JPG

 

 

So now I am on Erie Street alley, looking in the opposite direction as above, or south on Depeyster. McNasty's/Shark Club is gone as are several other buildings and houses for this, the retail/restaurant/residential-heavy area of the Davey Tree/Ametek complex....

 

Kent-011212007s.jpg

 

 

If I turn the camera about 90 degrees to my left to look east across Depeyster (I'm still on Erie Street alley), the site of the two largest developments in downtown Kent are seen, but aren't as far along as the others. There were a couple of houses over there and the main offices of the Kent-Ravenna Record Courier. To the left or north will be the new Portage Area Regional Transit Authority's (PARTA) $27 million Kent Central Gateway complex that will have a bus station, a 360-space parking deck plus retail shops, eateries and office space....

 

Kent-011212006s.jpg

 

 

The above view will look like this in 2013....

 

partagateway.jpg

 

 

And then I turn the camera very slightly to the right (southeast) to get a view of the construction site for Kent State University's 95-room hotel and 300-seat conference center which represents a $20 million investment....

 

Kent-011212018s.jpg

 

 

And so the above view will look like this in about a year....

 

41811HotelPerspective.jpg

 

 

OK, one more song. This is David + David's "Welcome to the Boomtown" that came out in the fall of 1986 while the Browns were winning 12 games and had a date of destiny with John Elway's Broncos. I and a lot of other people were sure the Browns were going to win the Super Bowl that year. It's probably the closest we've come to it since then...

 

 

 

Looking at KSU's hotel/conference center site from the opposite direction (northward view) also provides a glimpse of the site for the PARTA Central Gateway development beyond. In the background are houses along East Main Street (including the house of hypocrites at Sigma Chi where I pledged in February 1986, won a few beer bong contests and then got the hell out of there!). This view gives a better idea how big these two developments, valued at $47 million total, really are....

 

Kent-011212019s.jpg

 

 

The same view as above, only a year from now with the KSU hotel/conference center in the foreground and PARTA's Central Gateway transit center visible just beyond (at left)....

 

KentHotelConferenceCenter1.jpg

 

 

Going back to East Main Street, we find the big downtown office and retail vision dubbed the Phoenix Project which followed the lead of the historic renovations. The first part of that vision, the $6.5 million Acorn Alley, took development to a whole new level in downtown Kent. It was a risk, considering retailers and offices fled downtown more than 20 years ago (damn that makes me feel old!). But they're back, thanks to the vision of developer Ron Burbick. He couldn't get financing for Acorn Alley during the Great Recession, so he spent his own money on it!

 

AcornAlley1.jpg

 

 

OK, this is my photo of Acorn Alley and its location on East Main Street....

 

Kent-011212024s.jpg

 

 

And where do you come out of Acorn Alley? Right here at the south end! This is actually the start of Acorn Alley II....

 

Kent-011212008s.jpg

 

 

This is what you see when you walk through and come out the south end of Acorn Alley -- the portion of Acorn Alley II that's still under construction. This second phase cost Ron Burbick $5.5 million. Some restaurants and shops have already opened, including Laziza (Mediterranean food), Zoupwerks (soup and chowder), Tree City Coffee and Pastry, Popped! (gourmet popcorn), Wild Earth Outfitters, Acorn Alley Gifts and Novelties (books and antique maps related to Kent), and The Oak Room (Irish pub)....

 

Kent-011212017s.jpg

 

 

Coming back through Acorn Alley to return to East Main Street, you go out on to Main to look east towards the campus. There you see the new and the old. The old being the Franklin Hotel that we started off with. As I noted at the start, Ron Burbick bought the 19th century hotel. So the same guy who built Acorn Alley I & II with his own money bought this building too. And that's why the city feels so confident that the old hotel will be refurbished, but no one seems to know what it will be. Stay tuned!!

 

Kent-011212016s.jpg

 

 

If you'd like to see more pictures of downtown before all this development started happening, check out the photos at the link below. While some nice buildings were lost, downtown Kent didn't lose much. All it had going for it were some of the same bars and other hangouts that I went to more than 25 years ago. Downtown desperately needed a facelift, and it sure is getting it!

 

http://www.jonridinger.com/2010/09/changes-in-kent.html

 

Thanks for taking a trip with me down memory lane, and taking a peek at Kent's future!

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