Public/Private Partnership Builds New Kent State University Hotel & Conference Center

KENT, OH – (August 30, 2012) A unique public/private partnership, that includes $9 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) from Finance Fund, and $6.5 million from Development Fund of the Western Reserve (DFWR), will enable the Kent State University (KSU) Foundation to fund an important new hotel and conference center that will create 472 local jobs and spur regional tourism growth and economic development.

Project partners in the $15.6 million Kent State University Conference Hotel & Center in downtown Kent include the Kent State University Foundation, The Pizzuti Companies of Columbus, City of Kent, DFWR, which is controlled by the Development Finance Authority of Summit County, and Finance Fund.

“The partnership that is now making downtown redevelopment in Kent a reality has been a team effort of many committed organizations and individuals,” said Gene Finn, Kent State’s vice president for advancement and executive director of the KSU Foundation.

The new 95-room hotel is part of a larger $100 million redevelopment project in downtown Kent that will offer retail, office and residential space. Construction of the hotel, slated to open in the spring 2013, will generate 430 construction jobs. When complete, the hotel and conference center will result in 42 permanent jobs in a community that has a 29 percent poverty rate.
“There are no comparable hotels in the immediate area,” said Joel S. Pizzuti, president of The Pizzuti Companies. “There will be significant impact on the local economy including small business growth, job creation and additional development.”

The new hotel and conference center will serve university visitors and support area tourism overall. In addition, Kent and Akron-area employers are expected to hold corporate conferences and special events in the 5,400-square-foot, 300-seat ballroom/conference center. The hotel will also serve as a learning space for students, particularly for those enrolled in KSU’s hospitality management degree program.

“This project hits all of our hot buttons,” said Finance Fund CEO James R. Klein. “It drives jobs and economic development as well as spill-over benefits as it provides education for students building skills for future employment.” Finance Fund is investing $8 million in federal and $1 million in state New Markets Tax Credits.

Chris Burnham of the Development Finance Authority of Summit County remarked, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with the Kent State University Foundation, the Pizzuti Companies of Columbus, and Finance Fund to bring about this investment in downtown Kent. We also thank members of the Ohio Congressional delegation for their foresight and vision to enable investments like this to occur in our communities using the New Markets Tax Credit program.”

Thousands of campus visitors are attracted to the area each year. KSU is now the second largest public university in Ohio with total student enrollment of more than 41,000. “A driving force behind the hotel is to provide a home base for our returning alumni and to overnight prospective students and keep them downtown,” Finn said.

About Kent State University

Kent State University is Northeast Ohio’s leading public research university with more than 40,000 students. The university’s eight-campus system is among the largest regional systems in the country. Today, Kent State has become an engine for economic, cultural and workforce development – locally and internationally – as one of the premier Ohio universities. Kent State is ranked as one of the world’s top universities by Times Higher Education of London and one of the best national universities by U.S. News & World Report. The university also is ranked among the nation’s 77 public research universities demonstrating high-research activity by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. For more information about Kent State, visit

About Finance Fund (

In 2012, Finance Fund celebrates its 25th anniversary as a partner in community empowerment. Throughout Ohio, Finance Fund connects low-income communities with public and private sources of capital and simplifies the complexities of the financing process to help good economic development ideas come to life. Since 1987, Finance Fund and its affiliates have invested more than $195.5MM in housing, economic development, and community facility projects leveraging over $1B. These investments were accomplished through 2,688 awards to community-based organizations throughout the state. Partnerships enabled the development of 15,439 units of affordable housing, 16,728 direct jobs, and 3,036 early care and education classrooms for 69,497 children benefiting the lives of more than 125,000 Ohioans.

About The Pizzuti Companies
The Pizzuti Companies is a recognized leader in the development, marketing and management of real estate. With operations in Columbus, Chicago and Orlando, Pizzuti has developed more than 40 million square feet of Class A office, medical and healthcare, retail, residential and institutional-quality industrial facilities throughout the Midwest and Southeast regions of the United States. Pizzuti also has considerable experience working with local governments in the development of creative public-private partnerships. A leader in sustainable design practices, Pizzuti has completed build-to-suit and speculative construction projects in each of their major markets. Pizzuti Solutions LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary, boasts a staff with decades of combined public-sector work experiences, and focuses extensively in the areas of public facilities, sports and recreation, cultural facilities, education and strategic planning.

About The Development Fund of the Western Reserve’s (DFWR)

The Development Fund of the Western Reserve’s (DFWR) purpose is to enable investments that target low-income communities throughout its 18 county service area of Northeast Ohio. DFWR actively seeks projects that have significant economic and community impacts; have efficient turnaround of taxpayer dollars to put funding to work as quickly as possible; and/or achieve environmental sustainability and reduced energy costs. The Development Finance Authority of Summit County (DFA) is the management entity for DFWR. DFA works with economic development legal, financial professionals, and the business community to bring economic development to Summit County and Northeast Ohio. DFA’s overarching goal is to drive community development and enhance the economy and quality of life in our region.