New apartment building and restaurant approved for downtown Kent

Grace Murray

Kent Planning Commission approved Fairmount Properties’ Building C, a mixed-use structure at the intersection of Erie and Depeyster streets, in mid-December.

Architect Ed Fehér of Glavan Fehér Architects Inc. said Building C is a five-story building with a 7,000 square foot restaurant on the ground floor with four levels of apartments above.

“We’re in the process of completing the construction drawing,” Fehér said, “and the actual construction is planned to commence in March.”

Fehér said Building C, among other projects, would not be possible without the new Portage Area Regional Transport Authority Central Gateway Transit Center and parking garage.

Bricco, an Italian-themed restaurant, will occupy the building’s first floor and will open this fall.

“Bricco has actually been a part of the planning process since day one,” said Fairmount Properties project manager Adam Branscomb. “In all of our projects, we attempt to locate the best in class for the retail and restaurant categories, and in searching for the best, Italian seemed to be the obvious choice.”

Fairmount Properties, the private developer which will manage Building C, is also responsible for the recently developed Davey Resource Group and AMETEK, Inc. corporate offices in downtown Kent.

“All of the new buildings and facilities have been planned to enhance the historic character of downtown Kent,” said Kent’s Economic Development Director Dan Smith in an email interview. “We did not want it to appear that a huge crane dropped a new block into the middle of our downtown.”

However despite Building C’s proximity to Kent State campus, the apartments will not be geared toward students. Branscomb said he believes there is a hole in the residential marketplace, which Building C is expected to fill.

“We envision the target market for these units to be, among others, faculty and staff at the university, young professionals and empty nesters,” Branscomb said. “However, it will not be restricted to students.”

Fairmount Properties anticipates the apartments will be ready for occupancy in spring of 2014.

Fehér said the planning commission’s approval of the plans for Building C is the result of collaboration between the city, university and developers.

“It’s a team,” Fehér said. “We have been working on this project together for the past four years, and it’s an effort by everybody.”

Similarly, Smith said none of what is taking place in downtown Kent would be possible without the public/private partnership fostered by Lester Lefton and City Manager Dave Ruller, along with PARTA, Fairmount Properties, Phoenix Properties, The Pizzuti Companies, Davey Tree and AMETEK.

“At the end of the day,” Smith said, “we are enhancing existing businesses and gaining tremendous invest in both corporate and small business operations.”

Contact Grace Murray at [email protected].