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Akron’s Bowery Development Gets Needed Backing; Brewery, Restaurants May be Part of Downtown Mix

7/23/2018
Akron Beacon Journal

The nearly $40 million Bowery Development, a key project aimed at revitalizing downtown Akron, appears back on track with work possibly starting before summer ends.  When all is complete, some 15 to 18 months later, there could be a new downtown brewery, perhaps three restaurants and other retailers in the six long-vacant blighted buildings next to the Akron Civic Theatre — with apartments in the upper stories — the developer and financing partners say.

Another goal is to provide public access to and from South Main Street and Lock 4 and the canal at the rear of the buildings.  Complicated financing for the public-private venture should close soon, said James Hardy, chief of staff to Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan.

The project at West Bowery and South Main streets hit an unexpected setback when the state of Ohio earlier this year lost out in getting significant amounts of federal New Market Tax Credits; the Akron developers wanted to use $22 million in credits in the financing package, also called a capital stack.  The parties have succeeded in finding alternate sources of capital, Hardy and others said.  “We figured it out,” Hardy said.

The Bowery project is as important to Akron as was retaining Goodyear’s headquarters and Bridgestone’s technical center in recent years, said Chris Burnham, head of the Development Finance Authority, a principal partner in the Bowery Development.  “It’s the heart of our downtown,” Burnham said. “There’s a huge psychological boost here.”  Burnham and others expect the Bowery Development to foster further downtown redevelopment.  “It will prove the market,” Hardy said.

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