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Commission denies request to raze Akron Beacon Journal building

The art deco building at 44 E. Exchange was the home of the Akron Beacon Journal until 2019. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2021.
Shane Wynn
A city panel denied a developer's request this week to raze the former home of the Akron Beacon Journal at 44 E. Exchange St. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2021.

The historic former home of the Akron Beacon Journal in downtown Akron gained some breathing room after a panel this week unanimously rejected a request to tear it down.

The city’s Urban Design and Historic Preservation Commission on Tuesday voted 5-0 against the request by property owner Capstone Real Estate Investments to raze the 93-year-old structure to make way for a parking lot.

The Alabama-based company can appeal the decision to Akron City Council, but there’s no indication of when that body might take up the request.

The commission evaluated criteria for demolition under Akron’s historic preservation ordinance that includes consideration of the building’s condition, the risk to the public and its historic significance.

Dana Noel of Progress Through Preservation of Greater Akronis among those calling for the building to be saved.

He said if more downtown parking is needed, there’s room in the 230,000-square-foot building to convert portions to an indoor parking garage.

He said other uses could include residential units, office space or “with the new administration coming up, I’m hopeful they’ll take a second look at repurposing it as police headquarters.”

Shammas Malik, who won this week’s Democratic primary and with no opposition in November is set to become mayor next year, told Ideastream Public Media that renovating the current Justice Center, or finding a new home for the department, will be a priority for his administration.

The current mayor, Dan Horrigan, has said converting the building to a police headquarters would be too expensive.

Jeff St. Clair is the midday host for Ideastream Public Media.