AKRON, Ohio — The city of Akron will soon be home to a new entertainment district, after city council members approved a resolution at Monday's meeting.
Council members voted to approve the creation of the new East End entertainment district, spanning about 80 acres at the site of the former Goodyear headquarters. The district will be the third entertainment district in Akron, but the first outside of downtown.
Zack Milkovich, the Ward 10 councilperson, said he can't wait to see the redevelopment in the area.
"I grew up not too far from here, and I remember back as a child, this used to be such a vibrant area," Milkovich said. "These buildings that we stand under here are legendary to the city of Akron."
The redevelopment is part of a "Live, Work, Play" initiative by the developer, Industrial Realty Group (IRG). The group bought the former Goodyear campus, about 400 acres, in 2009 and has redeveloped other parts of the campus over the years through public-private partnerships, which include tax credits and tax increment financing, as well as private money. The group said its owners have invested approximately $170 million into the area.
The goal, said Todd Shaffer, IRG’s development construction project manager is to "revitalize this area, bring people to this area not only for our development but surrounding properties up and down the street."
In addition to existing office space and apartments, there are plans in place to build stores and restaurants. The new district will also have 15 D-5 liquor permits, which allow restaurants to serve alcohol and which cannot be transferred outside of the district to other parts of the city.
"We can create an entertainment venue for the workers and the people that live here, and then the community around us and Akron in general," Shaffer said.
Milkovich said he was excited to see the changes take shape.
"I love this city, and that’s why I’m still here," Milkovich said. "Just to see this area getting back to where it used to be, and it's on the right track."