City Financial Committee selects project redevelopment team

Sasha Parker

Kent City Council’s Financial Committee selected Fairmount Properties to head up the redevelopment agreement for downtown in a unanimous vote last night.

For the past month-and-a-half, Kent City Manager Dave Ruller headed up the city’s project review committee with Councilman Garret Ferrara, Kent State Senior Vice President Dave Creamer and Mary Gilbert, executive director of Main Street Kent.

“We were looking for the best fit, and while all three firms were capable, we feel we’ve selected the best one,” Ruller said.

Fairmount Properties of Cleveland is credited with construction and management of Hudson’s $60 million First and Main redevelopment. The firm also has constructed several housing projects in the region, including 164 high-end condominiums at Avalon Station in Shaker Heights.

“Fairmount gets the project,” Ferrara said. “They see what the project is and expressed a willingness to work with all the parties involved.”

In the next few weeks, Ruller plans to have the council meet with the Fairmount team to establish a time line for development.

“The important thing to remember is that we’ve been to this point before and have to make sure we continue to move forward this time,” Ruller said. “We’re in it to win it.”

The council estimates the downtown redevelopment project will be a $40-$50 million investment, and some council members expressed a need for Fairmount to be sensitive to its limited budget.

“We don’t have unlimited resources, so we have to be very smart with our finances,” Ruller said.

While the city’s contribution has not been designated yet, the committee is already investigating ways to finance the project. In the next few months, the committee plans to meet with members of the school district to discuss possible fund raising options.

“I’m very honored and thrilled to be part of this process,” Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer said. “I can’t wait to see what Kent looks like in the next few years.”

Contact public affairs reporter Sasha Parker at [email protected].