With construction on the $27 million dollar Fairchild Avenue Bridge and Crain Avenue pedestrian bridge project wrapping up, Kent officials believe the time might be right to sell properties it owns in the area for redevelopment purposes.
According to the Portage County Auditor's records, the city of Kent currently owns three properties in the area through the Kent Downtown Urban Redevelopment Corporation -- more commonly known as the Downtown Kent Corporation-- a non-profit entity formed in 1983 to assist the city in land banking and redevelopment activity.
Two of the properties -- 305 N. Mantua St. and 238 Gougler Ave. -- sit just south of the West River Neighborhood condominiums, which resulted from a prior land banking activity by the city. A third property sits east of the West River Neighborhood on the other side of Gougler Avenue.
Ruller said recently that now is "probably a good time to market the property for redevelopment," which Kent Economic Development Director Dan Smith said is currently under way.
"I currently have been approached by a lot of folks exploring the site," Smith said.
He said he's received "dozens" of calls about the properties, but it's too early to speculate on what could be built on the site and when. He said as with any potential economic development deal, it's not unusual for only a small fraction of calls about a property to grow into serious discussions.
Until this week, the Downtown Kent Corporation also owned an unusually-shaped parcel at 311 N. Mantua St. The property, which sits mostly behind the West River development, was transferred back to the city so it can be made a tax exempt parcel because the administration believes it to be unfit for development.
Smith said it is possible that the lot could eventually combined with nearby property to make it suitable for development in the future.
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