Tuesday afternoon the banks, contractors, Fairmount and its partners completed all their due diligence, dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s, and then proceeded to sign off on all of the agreements, leases, loans, and the other downtown project related documents. Dan Smith tells me that as of 4:01 Tuesday afternoon the respective documents were recorded with Portage County, so it is finally official — the Downtown Project is On!
Money doesn’t just make the world go round, it’s also how you get new retail stores, office space and restaurants built — which is why completing the financing was such an important bridge to cross. The loans and leases signed Tuesday cover the $35 million mixed use project that will include the new Davey Tree and Ametek offices.
Admittedly this has taken longer than any of us would have preferred but at the end of the day, we put together one of the largest and most complex projects for a City of our size in the state of Ohio at a time when in the economy is really hurting — so a little extra time may be a fair price to pay for our ambitious goals.
As a result, I also think that we have a project that has been analyzed inside-out and upside down by a lot of different experts and while that took extra time, it should prove to be time well spent as it forced us to ask a lot of hard questions and come to agreements with our partners at the start, rather than later on when problems are harder to fix.
That’s not to say everything will be problem free from here on out, but the next set of problems should be dealing with construction mobilization, utility relocation, street closures and general construction head-aches, which while they still hurt, are good problems to have as they are part of the process we’ve committed to for Kent’s economic recovery.
Last week Kent landed the largest manufacturer in the last 40 years in Kent — MAC Trailer — and this week the ink was signed for the largest revitalization project in Kent’s history. I’m not sure what we can do for an encore but its sure been a rewarding couple of weeks.
It would seem fitting to express my gratitude to everyone that made this opportunity possible — beginning with City Council and their bold decisions to buy the land we needed to get this ball rolling — to the senior staff that have put in hundreds (if not thousands) of hours to create something out of next to nothing. And of course, our growing list of partners. None of us could have done this by ourselves, but together we could, and we did.
Next up, approving construction plans, issuing construction permits and getting some dirt flying.