Popular sub shop will move to make way for the of the Portage County Municipal Court.
And a large chunk of the cost will come at Kent taxpayers' expense.
Kent City Council voted Wednesday to spend $1,070,000 to buy a little more than 2 acres at 313 E. Main St. Once the city has ownership, it plans to swap that land with the county for on South Water Street and an adjacent parking lot at the corner of Franklin Avenue and College Street.
County officials plan to build the new Kent courthouse on the East Main Street location.
Councilwoman Tracy Wallach cast the only vote against the land buy and swap. Councilman John Kuhar was absent Wednesday.
Kent City Manager Dave Ruller said the price is essentially the remaining mortgage on the land, which is owned by Akron-based Schweigert Properties.
"That price is the city's price essentially to get the county to move" the courthouse to East Main Street, Ruller said.
The terms of the actual have been under discussion for a few months, but the county spent several years for a new Kent courthouse before Kent officials last year.
Wednesday night, council voted to authorize the Downtown Kent Corporation, a non-profit group created by the city almost 30 years ago for landbanking purposes, to buy the land on behalf of Kent with a line of credit local banks extended to the city — for the primary purpose of landbanking — a few years ago. The non-profit DKC was founded as a landbanking tool to primer redevelopment of the city's West River Neighborhood in the 1980s.
Ruller said the city will only pay interest on the loan until the existing courthouse, once owned by the city, can be sold to repay the line of credit.
County officials said previously the existing courthouse has been appraised at $750,000. The property on East Main Street was appraised at $980,000, and city officials have said they are willing to absorb the difference to keep the courthouse in the downtown district.
Council members Heidi Shaffer and Jack Amrhein said after the meeting that they would like to see a private entity buy the courthouse building and redevelop it once the county has vacated it and moved to the new court.
Shaffer said she expects interest in what was an early incarnation of Kent's post office to jump once the city owns it.
"I don't think we have a plan yet, but we do envision that being put into productive use," she said. "I think it's a beautiful building."
Wednesday's vote came after council held a closed-door executive session to discuss buying the mostly vacant 2-plus acres in order to trade it for the existing courthouse. And the vote came minutes before council agreed to give Jimmy John's $15,000 to help with relocation costs.
"It’s a small amount of money to send a large message that Kent is business friendly," Councilman Garret Ferrara said of the relocation assistance.