University and city work together on community developments

Drew Parker

The City of Kent and the university are coming together this summer, as developers plan to bring new housing and franchises to the community.


Construction of the university esplanade extension began this spring and is scheduled to be complete in March 2013. The pathway, which now ends at the corner of Hilltop Drive and Lincoln Street, will end at Haymaker Parkway upon completion.

University Architect Michael Bruder said the extension will be a physical link between downtown and campus.

“This will reintroduce a pedestrian connection, and I think that’s positive for both downtown and campus,” Bruder said.

Artist renderings of the renovations can be found here.

Bruder said all properties and land purchased for the esplanade extension will be under university control.

“Once the university buys a property, it becomes part of the university, and the university will have the same jurisdiction on the esplanade as it does on other parts of campus,” Bruder said. “There’s not a third category (for the esplanade extension), just more campus.”

Dunkin’ Donuts

A Kent-based architecture group proposed plans to build a Dunkin’ Donuts at the site of a former gas station near front campus last month.

The City of Kent’s Board of Zoning Appeals approved seven variances for David Sommers & Associates to build the popular doughnut and coffee franchise on 525 E. Main St. last month.

Jeffrey Meyers, an associate architect for the group, said the proposal will go through the city’s planning review board July 17, and if the proposal is accepted, construction will begin about three months after approval.

DuBois Book Store

Randy Ruttenberg, managing principal at Fairmount Properties, told the Daily Kent Stater in October the company is interested in purchasing the former DuBois Book Store property. Ruttenberg told the Stater the project was in its planning stages and did not disclose what the replacement property would be.

Bridget Susel, grants and neighborhood programs administrator for the City of Kent, said the city has not identified a specific developer for the Dubois property.

“We’ve heard the (Fairmount) name, but we have not seen any purchase agreement, nor have we seen any plans for that site,” Susel said. “We’ve had developers propose residential or housing complexes, but they did not have documentation that they owned the property.”

Contact Drew Parker at [email protected].