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Akron's Stalled "Lock 4" Redevelopment Could Be Underway -- Or Looking For a New Partner -- By July

photo of Akron Civic

Akron officials have given developers till next month to get moving on the stalled “Lock 4” project.

“Lock 4” is an area downtown encompassing several buildings near the Akron Civic Theater. The city and Kent-based Main Street Partners announced a plan in 2008 to redevelop the area for mixed-use, but the recession and the departure of Mayor Don Plusquellic are among the reasons the project has been delayed. Now, Mayor Dan Horrigan has told Main Street Partners to start construction and pay off back taxes by next month, or the city may need to find a new partner.

The mayor's chief of staff, James Hardy, says there are many parcels in Akron that could be redeveloped, but Horrigan is particularly interested in seeing Lock 4 finished since it’s the heart of downtown.

“(it's) one of the first places that people see when they come for a game, a show at Lock 3 or the Civic. Getting this right would be critical for really galvanizing the next level of development downtown.”

Suzie Graham, president of the Downtown Akron Partnership, says businesses will follow once new apartments are added downtown.

“People want to walk to work. They want to be able to walk to a dining destination; walk to a green space. That adds significant animation as well as it feeds that local retail economy and makes for a more sustainable market for our retailers, which is another thing we want to grow.”

Main Street Partners principal Jack Crews tells Crain’s Cleveland Business that he anticipates the project moving forward, but he does not have details on funding.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.