Renewal vote will determine Kent’s downtown development

The next step in the transformation of Kent’s downtown will be determined Dec. 7.

The city’s Memorandum of Understanding with Right Dimensions, a California-based developer, is up for renewal at the City Council meeting that day.

Renewal is needed to proceed with the developers’ plans for a $33 million residential/commercial complex on the block of downtown framed by South Water, Depeyster, Erie and College streets.

The Memorandum of Understanding allows the city to negotiate with the company. A future contract, if the Memorandum is renewed, will describe the responsibilities of the city and of the developer.

All eight property owners on the block have some form of agreement with Right Dimensions, said Andrew Lombardo, senior project manager.

“In essence we have the properties under control, but we’re finalizing contracts,” Lombardo said.

He said he sees no reason why the memorandum would not be renewed. Right Dimensions’ development team became interested in Kent last October.

“After we’ve come this far, it would be a disappointment,” he said. “I feel pretty confident that it will be passed.”

Two of the properties, owned by Tim and Diana Harrod, were transferred to Right Dimensions on Oct. 18. The properties were sold for $230,000 each, according to Portage County’s property Web site.

The city of Kent owns a number of the properties on the block, as does Kent State.

Tom Clapper, the university’s general manager of transportation services, said the university’s current purchase option with Right Dimensions is good for three months, with an option to renew for another three months.

The agreements with property owners was the first step in the process. Securing future tenants also is necessary to obtain funding for the development, Clapper said.

Lombardo said the company also is working on other types of developments with the city but said he could not comment on them at this time.

Contact public affairs reporter Grace Dobush at [email protected]. Contact public affairs reporter Katie Phillips at [email protected].