The foundation for downtown Kent's next 100 years was set today not with stone — but with ink.
The city and its redevelopment partner, Cleveland-based Fairmount Properties, unveiled 13 tenants who signed leases as of today to occupy 87 percent of the first 155,000 square feet of new retail, office and residential space to be built in the next year and a half.
Randy Ruttenberg, a principal partner in Fairmount Properties, said they have been negotiating with AMETEK and Davey Tree for the last two-and-a-half years.
"This has been an unprecedented partnership," he said. "We're very proud to be a part of it. With the news of Davey Tree and AMETEK signing, we're releasing the attorneys to work on our first round of leases for the project."
AMETEK will be moving about 80 employees at its Lake Street plant into about 40,000 square feet in Fairmount's "Building B," which will stand on Erie Street facing Acorn Alley II. The 60 to 70 employees of the Davey Resource Group will relocate from Stow to occupy about 13,000 square feet in Fairmount's "Building A," which will rise at the corner of Haymaker Parkway and South Water Street.
The other 11 tenants announced Monday are:
- Aladdin's, a Lebanese-American restaurant with one location in Hudson
- Bricco, a pub-style eatery with locations in Cleveland and Akron
- Dave's Cosmic Subs
- Panini's bar and grill
- Palmieri Salon, a branch of Dino Palmieri Salon & Spa
- Shop 42, a clothing boutique
- Asian Chao restaurant
- Nature's Table, a wrap and smoothie shop
- Einstein Bros. Bagels, a bagel and sandwich shop
- The Market Path, a locally traded home decor and retail store
- Rockin' Taco, a Mexican restaurant.
Adam Branscomb, the project manager for Fairmount, said there are a few vacancies left in the first 155,000 square feet that will be built in the first three buildings.
Branscomb said another 45,000 square feet of space is available in the project along South DePeyster Street, where initial plans showed the Kent State University hotel. That space has become available since the university moved the combined hotel and conference center across South DePeyster Street.
The remaining open space in the project will be occupied by retail or specialty shops instead of eateries, Branscomb said.
Fairmount's "Building C" will include a first-floor restaurant with residential space above. It will stand at the southwest corner of the Erie and South DePeyster street intersection.
Matt French, vice president and general manager for AMETEK's Kent division, said they announced the decision to stay in Kent to the workers there about 30 minutes before the press conference today at 12:30 p.m.
"I'm surprised we didn't hear the cheer all the way back over here," French said. "One for a new facility, and two for staying a part of Kent.
"We can trace our roots back to Kent for approximately 80 years," he said. "But we're more excited about the fact that ... we're going to be laying a foundation for probably the next 80 years. As a global organization, we had opportunities to look at multiple facilities. And there kept being a pull and a lure to come back to Kent, Ohio."
The majority of the project could be open by the end of next year.
Joseph Paul, treasurer for Davey Tree, said they have expanded so much in recent years that space at the Kent headquarters is exhausted.
"It is our desire to return all corporate entities to Kent, and we believe strongly in supporting the Kent community and this downtown redevelopment project," Paul said.