City of Kent to welcome new buildings, businesses

Photo Credit: Matt Hafley

This summer will mark a period of extreme change in Kent as the city, Kent State University, PARTA and development corporations team up to revolutionize the appearance of downtown through seven major projects.

Hotel and conference center

A construction crew demolished a house on East Erie Street last week, moving one step closer to the construction of the university’s planned 95-room hotel and 300-seat conference center. The hotel will be located along Depeyster Street.

“We hope to break ground this summer with the goal of having the hotel open by September or October of 2012,” said Tom Euclide, associate vice president of Facilities Planning and Operation.

Euclide said work should begin in late August, and the total project is expected to cost between $15 to 20 million.

Acorn Alley II

By the beginning of the fall semester, the steel frames standing high at the corner of West Erie and South Depeyster streets will be home to more than a half dozen new storefronts.

Michelle Hartman, executive assistant at RLB Phoenix Properties, said the tenants of the $5.5 million Acorn Alley II will be moving in one by one throughout the summer and early fall.

The tenants include:

• Laziza, a Mediterranean-themed restaurant

• Zoupwerks-Kent, a soup and chowder restaurant

• Tree City Coffee and Pastry

• Popped!, a gourmet popcorn shop

• Wild Earth Outfitters

• Acorn Alley Gifts and Novelties, a store that plans to sell books and antique maps related to Kent

• The Oak Room, an Irish-themed pub

Kent Central Gateway

PARTA is set to begin construction on the Kent Central Gateway, a new multimodal center to be located between Haymaker Parkway, East Main and South Depeyster streets. The term multimodal refers to PARTA’s plan to include parking as well as bike and bus facilities. The building will also be near the Portage Hike & Bike Trail.

PARTA received $21 million through a TIGER grant from the United States Department of Transportation, and $5 million in funding from the City of Kent. With this new development, PARTA plans to add more parking, jobs and people downtown. The facility will also house retail shops, eateries, office space and 360 parking spaces. PARTA anticipates the project to be complete in late 2012.

University Esplanade to extend downtown

Although Kent State is still buying property in Kent, Euclide said the $3.28 million project has enough land to build the esplanade, and the university is currently buying surrounding properties to build a buffer zone.

Once the project is finished, the Kent State University Sculpture Walk will also be extended from Lincoln Street to Haymaker Parkway. Euclide said a traffic light will be installed at the crossing between Haymaker Parkway and the esplanade to help pedestrians and bikers cross safely.

Davey Tree, Ametek move into new building

Nothing currently stands on the block between Haymaker Parkway, Erie, Water and South Depeyster streets. Beginning late this summer, construction on the three-story structure that Davey Tree and AMETEK plan to anchor will begin.

Along with Davey Tree and AMETEK, the following retail companies and eateries plan to move in when the project is completed in fall 2012:

• Aladdin’s, a Lebanese-cuisine restaurant

• Bricco, a pub-style eatery

• Dave’s Cosmic Subs

• Panini’s Bar and Grill

• Palmieri Salon, a branch of Dino Palmieri Salon & Spa

• Shop 42, a clothing boutique

• Asian Chao restaurant

• Nature’s Table, a wrap and smoothie shop

• Einstein Bros. Bagels

• The Market Path, a home décor and retail store

• Rockin’ Taco, a Mexican restaurant

Robin Hood demolition

The owner of the Robin Hood Bar and Grille tore down the building in May, nearly a year after the restaurant shut down its business.

The small plot of land on the corner of Main and Lincoln streets—where the brick building had sat since the 1930s—is now an empty grass field.

Owner Christine Coven was unavailable for comment on the future of the property.

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporters Simon Husted at [email protected] or Doug Brown at [email protected]