Downtown Akron Development Aims to Spur Economic Activity
With major development projects underway, downtown Akron is in the midst of a major transformation that many believe will reshape the city’s future. From the Bowery Project to Main Street’s makeover, downtown Akron is abuzz with activity as developers continue to take on new projects and build up the city’s core.
At the center of this transformation is the Bowery Project – a redevelopment project that will create retail, residential and mixed-use space aimed at attracting millennials and urbanites. The project will focus on six buildings along S. Main Street, including the historic Landmark building. Situated adjacent to Akron’s historic Civic Theatre, Lock 3 and four public parks, The Bowery will serve as a key connection to other parts of downtown Akron. If the project does what many think it will, developers believe it will spur a wave of additional projects.
With construction slated to begin in September, the Bowery Project will include 100 new apartments and 60,000 square feet of mixed-use space, including retail and restaurants. While the indoor amenities will be a major boon for the city, planners are most excited about the project’s exterior plans. Tying into the Ohio & Erie Canal, the project will create a river-walk environment featuring a large patio with open access to Lock 4. By opening up public spaces like these, planners hope to make downtown Akron more walkable and in turn a place where more people want to visit.
The Bowery Project is just the beginning of the city’s transformation. Across the street, the Law Building is also getting a significant makeover. New Jersey developer Tom Rybak recently announced that he intends to convert the 11-story office building into a mixed-use structure that will feature 112 luxury apartments. The $26 million project will offer tenants on-site services for laundry and food delivery as well as a gym.
Running through the center of the city’s development boom is the Main Street Corridor project, a $31 million overhaul of the city’s core. Encompassing a stretch of road from Perkins Street/Route 59 to Cedar Street, the project will result in new street paving, sidewalks, utilities, signs and traffic signals, as well as new bus lanes and bike tracks. The project also calls for more green space and the development of a roundabout at Main and Mill streets.
Helping fund the Main Street makeover are two Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants. The city received a $5 million grant in 2016 and an $8 million grant in early 2018. Many believe the developments underway will spur widespread economic activity along the corridor in the years ahead.
With the majority of these projects on track for completion over the next two years, by late 2020, the downtown Akron of today will be entirely transformed. As these projects come online, developers believe they will spur additional activity, making way for more mix-used complexes that ideally will attract more businesses and residents to the downtown core.
For more on Akron’s downtown revitalization, please follow the links below.