The Akron Community Revitalization Fund is designed to create a pool of funds to leverage other funding sources and provide additional loans between $500,000 and $2,000,000 with more flexibility, less stringent credit requirements and below market rates. Eligible project areas include downtown, North Hill, and parts of east, south and west Akron that have a poverty rate of at least 30% along with an unemployment rate of at least 10%. The projects are evaluated on their readiness, investment in the community, the number and quality of jobs created and/or retained, and the impact the product or service will provide the community.
The Fund is managed by the Development Fund of the Western Reserve (DFWR), a private non-profit (501c3) affiliate of the Development Finance Authority of Summit County (DFA).
The United Building - A $1.28M loan was issued from the Akron Community Revitalization Fund in order to finance the adaptive reuse of the existing historic United Building into a 71-room boutique hotel in downtown Akron. Total project costs are approximately $10M with other funding sources including Cortland Bank and Village Capital Corporation (a CDFI based in Cleveland). This hotel will create approximately 20 full-time and 9 part-time permanent positions as well as 83 construction jobs.
Northside Marketplace – This loan was in the amount of $650,000 in order to finance the construction build-out of the Northside Marketplace – an urban market with a focus on social interaction, local businesses and grass roots artisans. It features an eclectic mix of the area’s best startups and offers small local businesses the tools and support they need to grow their business and increase exposure of their brand and product offerings. Like a retail incubator, the Northside Marketplace is all about identifying up and coming businesses and bringing them together to create a unique local shopping experience to both residents and visitors. The ACRF loan will also enable the development of phase two of the project which will be used for a farmers market and eBay marketplace.
Rubber City Arches – A loan was issued in the amount of $700,000 in order to finance the construction build-out of a single story commercial building located in the Northside District into the headquarters, regional training center and warehousing facility entirely for Rubber City Arches, a family-owned franchise of McDonald’s Restaurants in Northeast Ohio. It will bring 25 jobs and many people from 250 NEO restaurant locations into Akron for programs such as food safety courses and management training.
AES Building Tenant Improvement – A loan was issued in the amount of $580,000 in order to finance tenant improvements in the former AES Building. The two new tenants, OHM Advisors and CommuniCare Health Services are expected to bring approximately 70 quality jobs into downtown Akron. These tenants will help to fill the gap left in the building and the city when Exxon Mobil vacated in 2016, resulting in the loss of 200 jobs. The low interest rate and flexible terms of the ACRF loan are expected to help enable the borrower to incentivize future tenants as well.
Middlebury Commons – A loan in the amount of $1.6M was used in order to finance the construction and buildout of the ground floor commercial/retail space of Middlebury Commons – a mixed-use project with 40 affordable apartments for seniors and first floor retail space. We anticipate that this project will increase residential and business density at the heart of Middlebury while providing access to necessary services and amenities for the residents of the building and the surrounding blocks. Middlebury Commons is a significant part of the strategy to transform Middlebury from an area of disinvestment into a thriving neighborhood on Akron’s eastside. We are pleased to collaborate with East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation (EANDC) alongside others to make this crucial investment.
The Bowery re-development – The loan was in the amount of $1.67M in order to provide pre-development funds for the Bowery redevelopment project, a proposed six building, $40M mixed use project anchored by the historic Akron Civic Theatre. We anticipate this short-term loan will be repaid prior to year-end. Upon repayment, DFWR plans to make a subsequent loan in the equivalent amount for a tenant in the Bowery project after an additional underwriting process and review. As envisioned, the Bowery project is a key part of upgrading downtown Akron to improve public life and catalyze reinvestment and repopulation of the city. This development will completely revitalize 6 long-empty buildings to bring a fresh food market, retail, entertainment, office and residential elements to downtown Main Street that will likely stimulate further demand for residential and retail projects in Akron.