Properties Magazine December 2012 : Page 47

Constructing ‘College Town’ New Fairmount Properties mixed-use development furthers downtown Kent’s dramatic revival Story and photos by Mark Watt A fter decades of quiet decay, dramatic change is underway in downtown Kent. More than $100 million worth of investment is transforming the city with a blend of new retail, dining, hos-pitality, residential and office projects conceived by a diverse group of like-minded, independent developers, all within a cluster of five blocks in the city’s core. Beginning in the ‘80s, nearly 25 years passed without a major development in the city’s downtown district, according to Kent Economic Development Director Dan Smith. For the past four years, how-ever, a steady flow of construction work has been changing the town’s skyline as multiple projects take place next to one another: the pedestrian-scaled Acorn Alley I and Acorn Alley II retail, office and dining mixed-use developments (which opened in 2009 and 2011 respec-tively), the current renovation of the old Kent Hotel into a mixed-use facility, and the ongoing construction of both the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center and PARTA’s new Kent Central Gateway transit center and parking garage. The latest milestone in Kent’s revival is the recent opening of two buildings as part of Fairmount Properties’ $30 mil-lion College Town Kent development. Designed by Columbus-based Glavan Fehér Architects, the mixed-use project encompasses a four-acre block at the intersection of two major thoroughfares, Water Street and Haymaker Parkway, serving as a striking southern gateway into the city’s downtown district. The two new, three-story buildings, constructed by Premier Development Partners, include a mix of retail and res-taurant establishments at ground level. Upper floors are comprised of office space for two anchor tenants: The Davey Tree Expert Company and Ametek Inc., both longtime fixtures in Kent’s business community. The Davey Building, as it’s colloquially known, is a 47,000-square-foot structure at 295 South Water St., while the 61,000-square-foot Ametek building resides at 100 Erie St. Along street level of both buildings are a variety of restaurants, including Panini’s Bar and Grill, Yogurt Vi, Newdle Bar, Fresco Mexican Grill & Salsa Bar, Insomnia Cookies, Dave’s Cosmic Subs, Georgio’s Oven Fresh Pizza Co. and a live entertainment venue and restau-rant/night club called Bar 145, as well as a number of retail establishments – UniversiTees, The Market Path, Dino Palmieri Salon & Spa, Gracy Lane and Carnaby Street Style. “In all of our projects, we strive to be very thoughtful about how the 47

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