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Akron's East End Designated a Community Entertainment District

East End apartments
Akron's East End, home to high-end apartments, a hotel and other businesses, is now a designated entertainment district.

Akron City Council has approved a plan to create an entertainment district in Akron’s East End near the former Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. headquarters.

The newly designated district evolved from a strategic plan to keep Goodyear from leaving Akron.

Akron at-large councilman Jeff Fusco said Industrial Realty Group partnered with the city and county a decade ago to create the East End.

“This is the largest investment in a single area in Summit County’s history and it was in the name of keeping Goodyear here in town,” Fusco said. “And we did that, and not only just keeping those jobs here but a vison in terms of saying this is a special area.”

The 80-acre district is part of a much larger “live-work-play” area owned by IRG. The entertainment designation includes up to 15 liquor licenses, which IRG Vice President Carol Smith said will go to the existing Hilton Garden Inn and future eateries.

The East End is also home to high-end apartments, the Goodyear Theater, a Starbucks and a Handel's Ice Cream. A brewery and café are in the works.

The district aims to be a catalyst for further development of East Akron and Middlebury.

“We’re also now working with the city to see how we can help improve the housing stock there and working with some of the nonprofits to continue to develop and enhance the entire neighborhood as well as make them a connection to downtown Akron to continue to drive business throughout the entire city,” Smith said. 

With Goodyear’s headquarters, and SummaCare there, the East End will house more than 3,000 workers by November when Babcock & Wilcox moves from Barberton.

Jennifer Conn joined WKSU in February 2019 as Akron reporter.