In announcing a $33 million plan to revitalize a historic block of south Main Street, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan called it a foundation for development.
The 158-foot-tall Landmark Building at the corner of Main and Bowery opened in 1923 as the Akron Savings & Loan. It’s empty; it has been for years along with the buildings between it and the Akron Civic Theatre next to Lock 3. The city holds title to the blighted block and has tried to for years to find a workable way to bring it back to life.
Mayor Dan Horrigan says the city was "just stuck in a deal that didn’t have the potential to finish." The plan began to take shape this summer when Akron moved to regain title to the property on South Main Street, and it's now moving ahead with a project that promises "performance instead of potential.”
The mayor has sent a proposal to City Council for a deal with a pair of northeast Ohio developers to renovate the Landmark's block. He says the area is a key starting point.
“That was always the heart of where we should start because it provided the most opportunities.”
Horrigan says when Bowery Development Group — a partnership of DeHoff Development of North Canton and KBFG Investments of Strongsville — came up with a plan for renovating and re-purposing the buildings, he listened. And, because of successes the companies have had in doing similar work in other cities, he came to an agreement with them.
That’s what City Council will now consider.
Presuming it is approved, Bowery Development will use funding mechanisms like tax-increment financing and historic tax credits to eventually pay the city $1.3 million and help cover construction.
The Landmark Building and the properties beside it will be built out with retail spaces at street level, and lofts and apartments above.
The idea is to create a downtown neighborhood for people who want an urban lifestyle.
"We don’t want single visits," says Horrigan. "We want people to stay."
Work on the buildings is expected to begin next year.