Old courthouse building will become office space

A+photo+of+the+building+from+1942

A photo of the building from 1942

Taylor Patterson

From 1930s postmasters to 25 years of jurors, the South Water Street historic building has employed various professionals, and now it will house an attorney’s law office.

John Flynn, a local attorney, is relocating his offices to the former post office and courthouse building on South Water Street. He purchased the space almost a year ago, and expects renovations to be finished around June. Two-thirds of the building will house his firm, Flynn Keith & Flynn. He will rent the remaining space to an unidentified tenant.

According to Crain’s Cleveland, Flynn bought the building for $435,000 and invested $700,000 in renovations. Flynn didn’t confirm this price with KentWired.

“The primary reason we purchased it was to preserve the courthouse,” Flynn said.

The building’s history dates back to the 1930s, when it was the second post office in Kent. The original ran out of the postmaster’s house, according to Julie Kenworthy, the director of the Kent Historical Society.

In 1989, the building became a courthouse until the Kent Branch of the Portage County Municipal Court was relocated to Main Street in 2014. The building remained vacant for three years until Flynn made a development proposal for his law offices.

The city considered restaurants or pubs for renovation, but they chose Flynn’s offices.

“It was a case of what is the best use of the building, the office space seemed to be the best use of the property,” said Tom Wilke, Kent’s economic development director.

Most of the original architecture was altered during courthouse renovations, but history remains in the 30s-style marble walls and wood flooring throughout the building.

Flynn helped save the old Kent train station in the early 80s and was a Kent Historical Society board of trustees member through the 90s. Scott Flynn, his son and an attorney, is now the vice president of the board of trustees at the Kent Historical Society.

“I was born and raised in Kent,” Flynn said, “and I realize the value of these beautiful buildings downtown.”

Taylor Patterson is a business and downtown reporter. Contact her at [email protected]