Kent residents’ opinions vary on West Side Market replacement

Emily Andrews

WATCH video of the West Side Market’s demolition.

The old West Side Market in Kent has been demolished, and a commercial plaza is planned to go up in its place.

The West Side Market, located at 1238 W. Main St., has been a staple in Kent for 20 years. Dave Helmling Excavation started demolition last Monday. During the process, Helmling said it would take three days to tear it down and two more to clean up the area and take it to the landfill.

“I’m glad the West Side Market is being torn down,” resident Jack Amrhein said. “It was looking horrible. It was an eyesore. It was a popular grocery store, but it’s been abandoned for three to four years.”

Jeff Lorenzo, owner of the property, plans on building a commercial plaza to put in its place. Construction on the plaza will start March 2008, according to his plans. But a technical review must be turned in to city council for construction to begin.

“It’s a high traffic area, and that neighborhood needs it,” Lorenzo said.

However, residents in the area have expressed mixed feelings about the plaza.

“I have safety concerns, lighting concerns and how noisy it will be,” said Davida Berzinsky, resident near where the plaza will be. “It’s backed up right on our neighborhood.

“On the positive side, it will be more taxes for the city, but what will it do to our property values? I’m really concerned about all the little things.”

Other residents were excited.

“I’m thrilled,” resident Donna King said. “If they can get something halfway decent. I spend all my money in Stow. The closest grocery store in Kent is Acme, and I think it’s an injustice.”

David Yedidsion, architect of the project, described the building and what is planned to go in the plaza.

He said the building will be approximately 28,000 square feet. The building will be a combination of masonry and cast stone with a flat and pitch roof as well as plenty of landscaping. He said a grocery store, bank, coffee shop and specialty stores among others are tentatively planned for the plaza.

“None of these stores have signed on the dotted line,” Yedidsion said. “They normally don’t agree to be there until it’s shelled.”

Yedidsion said the idea is to get stores to complement each other and help the needs of the neighborhood.

“It will hopefully have a grocery store to replace the old,” Yedidsion said. “It will be geared to the community, which sits behind the plaza. They’ll be able to practically walk to get their daily necessities.”

The estimated cost is $3.5 million for the exterior shell and then an additional $1 to $1.5 million for the interior. It will cost approximately $4.5 to $5 million for the completed project. West Main Plaza is its tentative name.

Contact news correspondent Emily Andrews at [email protected].