NTCIC is pleased to announce that it has successfully closed on financing for the Bowery project in downtown Akron, Ohio. The collection of 6 historic buildings along Main Street will be revitalized into a variety of community-serving uses including a fresh food grocery store, expanded venues and space for the Akron Civic Theater, and 92 units of mixed-income (rental) housing. The revitalization efforts will connect this historic block to the to future revitalization efforts of the Lock 4 Park which runs along the canal behind the Main Street buildings.
“The successful redevelopment of these highly visible buildings along Main Street will certainly reinvigorate downtown Akron. ,” said Kathleen Galvan, the NTCIC Project Manager who oversaw the closing process. “We are thrilled to be able to support this project that will certainly bring new employment and much-needed downtown living opportunities to residents in the area.”
By the Numbers
The complex financial closing included a variety of state and local grants, TIF financing, and $6,669,000 in federal Historic Tax Credits syndicated by NTCIC, as well as $20 million in New Markets Tax Credit allocation, $10 million of which was provided by NTCIC.
“This process has been a complicated one with multiple organizations and funding sources all having to align goals simultaneously in order to make it work,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan in a press release. “The long-vacant buildings themselves are at a vulnerable crossroads as their deteriorating conditions made them unlikely to withstand another winter. Over the past two years we’ve had so many challenges, but I’m proud that we’ve been able to overcome each one through the collaboration of community and corporate leadership.”
The Future of Main Street
When complete in 2020, the catalytic, mixed-use project will feature 92 mixed-income apartments, office space for local businesses, and over 39,000 SF of storefront and commercial space, much of which was pre-leased prior to closing.
The Akron Civic Theater, known as the “Jewel on Main Street” will be playing a significant role in the redevelopment. Adjacent to one of the six buildings being restored, they will lease 7,127 SF of space for a new box office, administrative space, as well as new space for small community events, and additional theatre space for small-scale performances. The theater has also received additional grant funding to support its revitalization and to install exterior viewing screens to broadcast performances.
The project will also include a full-service, fresh food grocery store as the anchor retail tenant. The grocery will provide healthy food access to the low-income community, which has been identified as a USDA food desert. The project team will work to ensure the grocer is a SNAP retailer.
Rendering of the canal promenade located behind the Bowery project
Finally, in an effort to continue the activation of Akron’s Main Street, the City of Akron will use a portion of the development to create an indoor promenade to connect Main Street to the Lock 4 Park on the canal level behind the Bowery. The promenade will feature pop up retail spaces and community events and will encourage pedestrians to take advantage of the scenic canal, which has also seen recent revitalization. Future tenants of the Bowery project that are being considered include a coffee shop, a restaurant, and other uses which will provide necessary amenities to create a 24-hour life cycle for downtown living.
The downtown corridor of Akron has suffered considerable disinvestment for decades and the recent financial closing comes after nearly a decade of planning. “Akron has a strong preservation ethic,” said former Akron deputy mayor and project development team member during the official groundbreaking. “I can tell you from my own research that the dream of the revitalization of these buildings is older than almost any of us realizes.”
The project played a central role in the Downtown Akron Vision and Redevelopment plan and was championed by Akron officials including the Mayor, Director of Planning and Urban Development, and County Executives. Working in collaboration with community residents, the group identified the need for jobs, access to healthy food, and affordable housing as a top priority. The Bowery project will address all these issues while eliminating blight and spurring additional revitalization for the historic Main Street of Akron.
Showcasing the Power of New Markets
The revitalization of this historic block would not have been possible without community development financing incentives provided by NTCIC, such as the Historic Tax Credit and the New Markets Tax Credit.
A total of $6.6 and $20 million in HTCs and NMTCs respectively made it possible for the project sponsors to provide affordable housing for the community, below-market rents for current and future commercial tenants, and a prosperous main street corridor. NTCIC recognized the community impact the project will have on the Akron for years to come and is honored to have been a part in making it possible.
To learn more about this incredible project, click here.