KSU approved to buy land containing Starbucks, Campus Book & Supply


Starbucks and Campus Book and Supply on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017.

Megan Ayscue

Kent State’s request to purchase land located just off campus on East Main Street was approved Monday by the Ohio Controlling Board.

The land, 430-436 E. Main St., which contains Starbucks, Campus Book & Supply and a parking lot, was purchased for $2.2 million.

However, “no student tuition or fees are being used to pay for the property,” according to the university’s press release.

The Kent State Board of Trustees approved the motion to purchase the land during last month’s Dec. 7 meeting.

“We have been looking at the property for some time due to its strategic placement, which is surrounded by university property,” said Mark Polatajko, Kent State’s senior vice president for finance and administration, in Monday’s university news release. “When the opportunity arose this summer, we negotiated with the current owners and came to terms.”

With the approval from the Controlling Board, the university will enter into an agreement to maintain the current properties of the land for the next three years, according to the press release.

“I don’t frequent any coffee places much, but I do go to the bookstore rather frequently,” said Matthew Gates, a sophomore international relations major. “I wouldn’t be crazy about (Kent State building here).”

According to the press release, while there are no immediate plans to build, the location is “key to the planning process.”

“I do like the aesthetic of this (Starbucks),” Gates said. “I think it adds a lot to the downtown area because it’s ‘English Tutor’ style, so it’s very appealing to the eyes. It’s a very nice contrast (to) the brick buildings of Kent.”

Gretchen Bowling, sophomore fashion merchandising major, likes the convenience of the Starbucks’ location.

“I’d be pretty disappointed (if they take down Starbucks),” Bowling said. “It’s a great location. I’m a fashion student, (and) it’s nice to come either before or after class … .”

Bowling said the building’s architecture “just adds to the experience.”

This location was ideal for Kent State due to it’s proximity to downtown and the university buildings surrounding it. The city and the school have been working on cohesion between the campus and downtown area.

“I’m pretty pleased with what is already here,” Bowling said. “(I go to this Starbuck) at least twice a week … last semester I would come sometimes twice a day.”

Kent State plans to continue to expand the Esplanade into revitalized downtown Kent for academic, athletic, recreational and residential purposes. If the university plans on building in this location, Gates hopes the architecture is maintained, as well as the convenience of current businesses.

“I’d like to keep this architecture around because I think it adds a flavor to the more downtown area of Kent,” Gates said.

The Controlling Board also approved a $900,000 contract with CriticalAire Inc. and Johnson Controls Inc. for the Liquid Crystal and Materials Sciences Building lab on Kent State’s main campus. This will be used for a new control system, rather than an entirely new building-wide exhaust system, according to the press release.

The use of $1.5 million to “expand and improve” Kent State Stark Campus’ Fine Arts Building was also approved by the Controlling Board. This money will go toward an 18,500 square foot expansion, two new audio recording studios and “the renovation of classrooms, practice areas, and office spaces,” according to the press release.

Megan Ayscue is an administration reporter, contact her at [email protected].