Before I get to announcing the good news for the City’s portion of the downtown project, have you seen what Ron Burbick has been up to lately for Acorn Alley Phase 2? Holy cow.
As if there was ever any doubt, Ron Burbick is in it to win it, and he’s putting up new buildings to go along with his revitalized buildings at a pace no one thought was possible. But if we’ve learned anything about Ron from the first phases of his Phoenix project, never underestimate the power of impatience and persistence in the name of progress.
Ron’s next phase is starting to take shape with concrete walls, steel beams and elevator shafts rising into the sky. It’s a dramatic image to go along with the big dreams that he’s making possible in Kent. Ron has walked the walk, and taking a path less traveled to restore Kent’s sense of pride for where we’ve been as a community and optimism for where we’re going.
Ron is still claiming that mid-summer opening for a lot of his new stores and restaurants is possible — and I’ve learned long ago to take him at his word. He delivers and I can’t wait to see how all this comes together. Wow, wow, wow.
With Ron’s project blazing a trail, the City’s downtown project is doing it’s best to keep pace and this past week we passed 2 major milestones.
On Friday, both Davey Tree and Ametek officially signed their leases to be tenants in Fairmount Properties new buildings in our development block. These two corporate anchors will bring 120 employees into downtown Kent on a daily basis which is exactly what all the new restaurants and retail stores will need to keep their cash registers ringing and generate the kind of daytime traffic downtown, that along with our already active evening crowd, adds up to a vibrant downtown scene 24-7.
Davey Tree and Ametek are long time Kent companies that played a significant part in shaping Kent during the 20th century, which is why it’s so exciting to see them continuing their partnership with our community and committing to the be major players in writing Kent’s next chapters. Add in Kent State University with their hotel and conference center plans, and the downtown project includes three of Kent’s most influential partners in our last 100 years — a fact that bodes well for the next 100 years.
The signing of these 2 leases should set in motion securing construction financing, completion of construction drawings and the issuance of bids for construction companies to build the project. These deals are so complex that I’ve learned never to assume smooth sailing but with these leases in hand the tradewinds are defintiely blowing to the projects favor and should really help fill the sails to see activity in late summer.
By the way, the Planning Commission is reviewing the hotel & conference center plans this week and the Architectural Review Board is taking a look at the renderings for the new Davey Tree building — so the right pieces are falling into place at just the right time.
Here’s a peak at the plans to be presented this week.