Kent Planning Commission approves site plan for downtown apartments

By Thomas Gallick | Staff Writer Published:

Kent Planning Commission approved a downtown mixed-use apartment and restaurant building Tuesday after airing a few concerns about the parking situation near the planned development.

The board unanimously approved the site plan for Cleveland-based Fairmount Properties' "Building C," which will be located on South DePeyster Street, behind Fairmount's first two mixed-use buildings, which house offices for Ametek and Davey Resource Group, as well as restaurants and retail businesses.

Building C will feature the Italian-themed restaurant Bricco on the ground floor, and eight units of apartment housing on each of the next four floors.

Planning Commissioner Peter Paino took issue with the lack of detail representatives from Fairmount Properties went into on the topic of parking for the residents.

"(The plan) is kind of a little bit vague as to how the parking is going to work," he said. "I don't care how 'green' the city of Kent is, people are still going to have cars."

Adam Branscomb, project manager at Fairmount Properties, said a firm would be hired to act as property managers for the apartments, and that firm, not Fairmount, would work out a deal with the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority for use of parking spaces at their parking deck on the other side of DePeyster Street, which will open in late spring 2013. He said Bricco's management has also expressed willingness to set up a valet parking service on site for its customers.

Planning Commissioner Melissa Long asked whether the employees of the apartment complex and Bricco would have space to park near the building.

Branscomb said those employees, like the retail and restaurant employees of the first two Fairmount Properties' buildings, would be asked to park on Franklin Avenue near the Haymaker Parkway Bridge.

With three new student apartment complexes opening in Kent within the last year, Branscomb said these apartments will be built with Kent State University faculty, "empty nesters" and professionals in mind.

"These apartments will not be geared to students," he said. "They will not be marketed to students."

Planning Commissioner John Gargan thanked Fairmount Properties officials for their work thus far on the downtown redevelopment process, noting he hoped "Building C" looked as good as the company's first two projects.

"You guys have done such a great job on everything else," he said.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or tgallick@recordpub.com

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