Marc’s coming to Kent, Tops Plaza; eying late summer opening

Ryan Lewis

Kent’s empty Tops plaza, which has been vacant since 2005, will soon be home to a Marc’s supermarket, said Robert Brown, Deville Developments’ director of operations. 

Brown confirmed Thursday that a lease has been signed with Marc’s, and a late summer date has been set as the target for a tentative opening.

Deville Developments bought the property, located at 1590 S. Water Street, for $600,000, according to property records from the Portage County Auditor’s Office. 

Attorney Eric J. Williams purchased the property on Feb. 27 and then turned it over to Deville Developments Monday, according to the records. 

“We saw the plaza as an opportunity to bring it back to life and make it a thriving place,” Brown said. “And Marc’s is a great retailer. They think Kent’s a great place as well, and they don’t have anything in Kent so we worked out a deal. We were looking for a right time and opportunity, and they finally met up.” 


The property had an appraised value of $3.04 million in August, according to Portage County records, nearly $1 million less than its appraised value of $3.99 million in 2012. The land value alone was appraised at $706,100, according to the records. 

Brown said Deville Developments was pleased with the $600,000 price tag and plans to complete some renovations.

“We’ve been looking into this for about the past year, and we’ll put some money into it,” Brown said. “It’s not like you pick it up at that price and boom, it’s done. So we’ll put some more into it.” 

The plaza currently has two smaller storefronts in business, Fancy Nails and Famous Hair, but the 49,839-square-foot shopping center — which makes up the vast majority of the plaza — has stood empty since Tops Friendly Markets closed more than nine years ago. 

Kent Community Development director Bridget Susel attributed the plaza’s long vacancy to two factors: the crash of the housing market in 2008, which Susel said then affected the commercial market, and Tops Friendly Markets was still paying lease payments long after the store closed, reducing the immediate need for new owners. 

“It’s our understanding that the lease that was held by Tops Friendly Markets was a long-term lease,” Susel said. “Even though they vacated the space, they were still making lease payments. There was already income coming in to sustain the building, so it wasn’t marketed as heavily.”

With new owners and a supermarket on the way, there’s a chance for the south side of Kent to receive a boost in traffic and appeal, Susel said. 

“It’s absolutely a positive effect,” she said. “The south end of our city has had, like many other cities, some foreclosures of businesses and retail. To have a tenant take that space, it’ll lead to an increase in traffic, and it’ll have the ability to sustain some businesses for a long time. It’s a great thing.” 

Brown said that the potential is there for other small businesses to join the plaza, though nothing is currently in the works. 

Contact Ryan Lewis at [email protected].