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State, county and local officials broke out the blue and gold shovels again Friday at a groundbreaking ceremony for the third building in the downtown Kent Fairmount Properties block.
Fairmount Properties officials gave the crowd a preview of "Building C," which will house Bricco, an Italian-themed restaurant, on the ground floor and 32 apartment units on the top four floors of the structure, located on the corner of DePeyster and Erie streets.
Mayor Jerry Fiala thanked Fairmount Properties for its work on "another piece of the puzzle" that is downtown Kent's $110 million redevelopment project.
Adam Branscomb, project manager at Fairmount Properties, said Bricco should be able to start its interior work in November. Tenants will likely start moving in to the apartment units in spring of 2014.
Randy Ruttenberg, managing principal of Fairmount Properties, said the apartments will feature amenities such as granite countertops, in-suite washers and dryers and walk-in closets.
"The residential portion of this project, we think will be the most upscale residential in this area," he said.
Ruttenberg drew applause from the crowd when he announced Bricco would indeed be the tenant of the first floor of "Building C." He said some in the community had assumed the restaurant chain, which has locations in Akron and Cleveland, had backed out of the project when it did not open in either of Fairmount Properties first two Kent buildings, located on the corners of Haymaker Parkway and Water Street and Erie Street and Water Street.
David Glenny, owner of Bricco, said "despite some of the rumors, we never wavered."
Ruttenberg said Fairmount Properties' successful launch of two mixed-use buildings, with a third on the way, would not have been possible without all of the partners in downtown Kent's downtown redevelopment project, from city and university officials to local business leaders.
"This really took an incredible effort from a lot of people, from a spark that was created by (local developer) Ron Burbick, who really put his money where his mouth is as it relates to (developing) Acorn Alley," Ruttenberg said.
Ruttenberg asked those in attendance to continue supporting the tenants of Fairmount Properties' first two buildings, including Bar 145, which hosted the event.
Officials including State Sen. John Eklund, Portage County Commissioner Kathleen Chandler and representatives from the offices of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman attended Friday's event.
While construction begins on "Building C," Fairmount Properties will keep busy with two other Kent-related tasks.
Branscomb said the company has not leased the second floor of "Building A," or the Davey Resources building on South Water Street, although the he has received interest from firms wanting to lease either part or all of the floor.
The company's officials are also debating what should be developed on the fourth and final plot of land in the block, located at the corner of Haymaker Parkway and DePeyster Street.
Branscomb said both of those discussions have been secondary to the planning for "Building C" so far.
"Right now, our focus is getting 'Building C' off the ground," he said.
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