Release Date: June 28,2017
The development of what has been called the most important block of downtown Akron received a boost Wednesday with the announcement in Columbus that the Ohio Development Services Agency has awarded a total of $5.03M of Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits for the six (6) buildings comprising “The Bowery” Project, which is located on S. Main Street adjacent to Akron’s historic Civic Theatre and the Lock 3 and 4 public park amenities. “We are extremely appreciative of the State’s recognition of The Bowery as a foundational Project, which will have a significant community impact and act as a catalyst for the City of Akron’s economic growth. We also sincerely appreciate the Mayor’s guidance and support, as well as his staff’s efforts in helping to secure this very competitive resource,” said Dan DeHoff, principal, Bowery Development Group. The Bowery was among 30 applicants throughout the State of Ohio which were awarded a total of $34,977,855 in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits from the Ohio Development Services Agency on a competitive basis.
The Bowery, which Mayor Dan Horrigan has called “critical” to the success of the city’s Downtown Vision and Redevelopment Plan launched early this year in concert with the Downtown Akron Partnership, consists of the rehabilitation of six (6) historic buildings into a significant mixed-use complex including residential, office and retail uses. As a $38,000,000 investment in the city, The Bowery will create a symbiotic public/private relationship that multiplies the catalytic impacts of existing public improvements while rapidly transforming a long vacant, highly visible and underutilized area of Downtown Akron.
Vacant for more than a decade, the successful redevelopment of these historical and highly visible assets is absolutely necessary to the city’s continued success, most notably through the inclusion of a fresh food/grocery market. Located on the main north/south artery of the city, the proposed mixed-use project will attract new residents, businesses and visitors alike and reestablish the S. Main Street corridor as an economic development focal point of Akron and the region. The new apartment units within The Bowery will also help meet the strong demand for additional downtown housing, which is currently significantly underserved, while providing affordable housing options to many Akron residents.
The combination of the new residents attracted to the project with the proposed ground-level retail spaces will dramatically improve the 24-hour vitality and street life of Downtown Akron. Each component of the proposed mixed-use project is essential to creating a sustainable project that meets the needs of this emerging market. To that end, Bowery Development Group has been working closely with area stakeholders to ensure that the project’s design and programming are consistent with the city’s vision for the neighborhood and regional partners, including the Development Finance Authority of Summit County, Summit County, Greater Akron Chamber, Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, Downtown Akron Partnership and others.
Financing a mixed-use development in the heart of a severely distressed area is challenging. As such, the Bowery Project will be financed through a combination of owner equity, federal and state historic tax credits, new market tax credits, Tax Increment Financing and conventional and mezzanine debt. “There is a proven need to form successful public/private partnerships to secure the unconventional financing sources necessary to redevelop blighted areas and deliver space at market rates with much needed and sustainable amenities to the city. We certainly see that atmosphere, as well as the necessary leadership and community support, in the City of Akron… as evidenced by this award.” Said Kevin Brokaw, director of development, Bowery Development Group.
Specifically, the competition for State Historic Tax Credits and New Market Tax Credits, which are attracted by the job creation and economic impacts, is extremely high. The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides tax credits to leverage private redevelopment of historic buildings in three categories: (i) Catalytic Project; (ii) Large Project (capped at $5M per project); and (iii) Small Project (capped at $250K per project). Bowery Development Group submitted one (1) Large Project application and three (3) Small Project applications for the six (6) adjacent buildings:
Large Project: The 12-story Landmark building and two adjacent 4-story buildings, 156-160 S. Main Street was approved for a $4.28 million tax credit. The Landmark building was home to Akron Savings & Loan Co. beginning in 1923. The building at 164 S. Main was the site of the Akron Beauty School and Sav-Mor Drugstore. 168 S. Main was home to the Osterman Furniture store from 1910 to 1926, and later Nobil Shoes.
Small Project: 172 S. Main, a 2-story building that last housed Jay Drug, received a $250K allocation of tax credits.
Small Project: The Standard Savings Bank building, 174 S. Main, is a 3-story building that received a $250K allocation of tax credits
Small Project: The Whitelaw Building, 176-180 S. Main, a 2-story building received a $250K allocation of tax credits. The building opened as Whitelaw’s saloon in 1903. The building also previously housed Akron’s iconic Peanut Shoppe.
With much appreciated support from the Summit County Land Bank, Development Finance Authority of Summit County and Downtown Akron Partnership, Bowery Development Group was represented by Historic Tax Credit consultant Heather Rudge of HP Group LLC and financial consultant Ryan Sommers of Project Management Consultants, LLC.