New apartments and townhomes to come to city of Kent as early as 2024

Emma Andrus Reporter

The city of Kent can expect to see newly constructed apartments and townhomes as early as 2024.

The proposed site is at the intersection of Routes 43 and 261, north of Mike’s Place and south of the plaza containing KeyBank and Marc’s. The land is currently owned by Triway Investment Properties Ltd. 

Pete Schwiegeraht, the senior vice president of development for the midwest region at MVAH Partners, is the developer behind the project.  

“We reached out to the city of Kent over the last couple of years, really expressing an interest in finding the right site,” he said. “The two genres that we’re targeting are very specific, number one. These are the left out demographics in your community. There’s plenty of student housing.”

“Senior independent living: there’s really only one other comparable property in town, and it has 100 percent occupancy with a multi-year waiting list. Senior population is the fastest growing population in the community,” Schwiegeraht said. “Workforce housing has often been overlooked because of the demand for senior housing. But the reality is, we’re going to be targeting incomes between 30 to 80 percent of the income in the county and working class individuals.” 

There will be two buildings: one for senior independent living and one for workforce housing. Each facility will house a business center, a fitness center, a community room and a theater room. In total, each of the two phases of the project will be around a $14 million investment, Schwiegeraht said. 

In May, the city of Kent’s Planning Commission received an application requesting a zoning map amendment, said Kent’s Community Development Director, Bridget Susel. They voted to recommend the request to City Council. 

David Hall, an industrial and commercial real estate broker for Currie-Hall Investment Co., represents the owner of the property. He described the Planning Commission’s May vote as passing at “the bare margin.” 

“Because two members of the Planning Commission weren’t present, then that created a problem, so the chairman had to vote,” he said, “and he reluctantly voted in our favor. Otherwise, this whole project would have been down the drain.”

Hall said commission members who voted against the zoning amendment expressed concerns about overdevelopment of student housing and worried that the project would turn into apartments and townhomes for students. However, Schwiegeraht said students don’t qualify for this housing because developers are using a special financing administered by the state including bond financing and tax credits. 

City Council held a public hearing in July and authorized the zoning change Aug. 4. The request changed the zoning from commercial to commercial high-density multifamily residential zoning, or CR, meaning the construction of residential buildings would then be possible. 

MVAH Partners hopes to make an application through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency for bond funding for the project in the spring of 2022. Funding would be received likely in the late summer of 2022, Schwiegeraht said, with the hope to begin construction by the end of 2022. 

The estimated build time is around 15 to 20 months, meaning the city of Kent can expect to see these new buildings arrive in the spring of 2024, he said. 

“MVAH Partners is a long-term owner in the properties we develop,” Schwiegeraht said. “We’re very excited about serving the community with housing options that are not available and are very hopeful to become long-term owners and members of the community.” 

Emma Andrus is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]