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Fairmount 'Building C' Site Plan Approved

Parking for new downtown apartment building will rely on PARTA's transit center

The Kent Planning Commission signed off on the site plan for Fairmount Properties' Building C, a new mixed-used apartment building downtown, but not without talking about parking.

The commission unanimously approved the project, but all four members said they were concerned about the parking arrangements.

Adam Branscomb, project manager for Fairmount Properties, which will own the building, said both the residential and restaurant components of the building will rely primarily on PARTA's new Kent Central Gateway transit center and parking deck for tenants and restaurant customers.

Branscomb said Bricco would have to make arrangements with PARTA for a valet service they are planning, and tenants also would have to make their own arrangements with PARTA to buy overnight parking passes for the deck.

"That would not be something we would be doing on behalf of each apartment renter," Branscomb said. "They would be doing that themselves."

Bricco, an Akron-based Italian restaurant, will occupy all of the first floor, which is about 7,000 square feet total. The 32 apartments will be spread out with eight on each of the upper four floors.

The building, which is not yet under construction, will stand at the southwest corner of Erie and South DePeyster streets.

Kent Planning Commission member Peter Paino said he understands city code does not require on-site parking for the building because it is in the downtown district.

He added that relying on the parking deck for valet and customer use makes sense for the restaurant.

"But as far as the residents are concerned … I think there should be something that says ‘This is what these tenants are going to do,'" Paino said. "It’s kind of a little bit vague as to how the parking is going to work."

He said if the building were not located downtown, and based on the city zoning code, the project would need 93 spaces based on the 48 bedrooms and seating in the restaurant.

Commission member John Gargan expressed similar concerns.

"That’s sort of the default answer for everything," Gargan said. "Everyone’s saying their parking is going to be solved by the parking deck."

Branscomb presented a letter from Bryan Smith, director of planning for PARTA, that stated the transit agency would be willing to work with both tenants and the restaurant to make parking available in the deck.

Kent Economic Development Director Dan Smith said that, in addition to the parking deck's 364 spaces, the new city parking lot in the center of the redevelopment block has 114 spaces that are open to the public on weekends and after 5 p.m. on weekdays. And, when finished, the new Kent courthouse will have 112 parking spaces open to the public also on nights and weekends.

"You can start to see there’s a lot of parking that will be used at different times," Smith said. "The PARTA transit center of course is crucial to this project."

Branscomb said they anticipate customers of Bricco will use the parking lot in the middle of the redevelopment block if they don't use the valet service.

Employees will be directed to free, all-day parking on Franklin Avenue.

The apartments, which will be one and two bedroom units, will vary in size from 680 square feet to 1,200 square feet. Rent will be, on average, $1.40 per square foot.

"These units will not be geared to students," Branscomb said. "They will not be marketed as student housing. Perhaps empty nesters. There may be some international and graduate students who live here. By nature of the Kent market of course there will be some students who live here."

Chris (Kit) Myers December 19, 2012 at 01:56 PM
This is not at all thought through. $952.00/month for a 680 square foot, 1 bedroom apartment, with no parking space. Hmmm. $1400.00 for the 1000 square foot, 2 bedroom. No parking. Hmmm. I guess that empty nesters, graduate students, and international students have a lot of money, huh? What Does Dan Smith mean when he says PARTA will be willing to work with tenants and the restaurant to make parking available in the deck? Could that mean that spaces will be blocked out for them? Could that mean that they will get lower rates; rates thus subsidized by the taxpayers that fund PARTA? So the parking lot in the middle of the redevelopment block has 114 spots available after five o'clock on weekdays and the courthouse has 112. Where are the apartment tenants going to park during the day? Under the bridge? Or will they have to pay to park in the PARTA building? Who is going to live there and walk up to the courthouse in the morning to move their car? Who is going to pay to clean up the redevelopment parking lot in the morning? Somehow I see taxpayers taking a hit on this one. I hope I am wrong.
Teresa K. December 19, 2012 at 02:17 PM
It always comes down to the parking in downtown Kent. Parking was a problem BEFORE all the new construction. Circling and circling around town for a distant spot to park isn't worth the time or frustration. The parking deck, parking spots on the street, and parking after hours at the courthouse: it simply wont be enough. Rotating shifts on the parking isn't a good solution either. After five o'clock: most people go Home. Where are they going to park during busines hours? "Everyone’s saying their parking is going to be solved by the parking deck." "It’s kind of a little bit vague as to how the parking is going to work." "The PARTA transit center of course is crucial to this project." From the article: "The commission unanimously approved the project, but all four members said they were concerned about the parking arrangements." Why approve something if part of the PLAN IS MISSING???
Chris (Kit) Myers December 19, 2012 at 03:09 PM
PARTA, as far as I know, anyway, has not announced how much it is going to cost to park in the building. I have a rental. I have tenants whose cars sit in my lot most of the time or they are in and out. It is not as if they are gone every day from eight to five. I guess people at home during the day in the new apartments will be stuck paying in the PARTA building, parking under the bridge, or moving their cars every two hours on the street to avoid a ticket. Maybe they can find a spot on Woodard Avenue or Sherman Street or somewhere... The city goes ga-ga every time a smooth big-time developer comes along. Perhaps I am wrong about all this. Perhaps Fairmount will find tenants willing to pay high rent and walk across the street to PARTA (where they will pay) on a blizzardy day to retrieve their cars. Perhaps they will find a sufficient number of tenants with no cars. I don't mean to be negative, but ya gotta think about these things.
Dave December 19, 2012 at 03:56 PM
I doubt they will have many problems finding tenants. It may not be you or people you know but there will be plenty of people willing to pay rent at those levels. The Silk Mill apartments are not that far off of what rent may come out to for this project and these apartments obviously have a much better location. As for parking, you can already park within two blocks of anywhere you need to be at all hours of the day. That will only improve once the parking garage and courthouse are finished. Two blocks hardly constitutes a major inconvenience - and I think most all of us could use the extra minute or two of walking.
James Vaughan February 06, 2013 at 10:23 PM
I wish these plans, drawings etc were larger! Ever since all this development started I have been keenly interested; but the shortage of understandable visual presentation had been frustrating! I have heard the same complaint from many others. No one could figure out what and where the new bridge would be until construction started. The folks who provide the info already know and do not seem very savvy about presenting it to the public. I and others would have been much more enthusiastic about the downtown project, much earlier, if there had been better- clearer presentations. I love the Kent Patch but it also suffers from too small imagery.

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