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Akron Officials Say They're At the 'Two-Yard Line' In Getting The Bowery Project Moving

photo of the Akron Civic Theatre marquis
The buildings north of the Akron Civic -- known as The Bowery project -- could begin construction as early as this summer, if funding is secured.

Officials in Akron say they’re at “the two-yard line” when it comes to securing funding for the long-delayed, $40 million Bowery redevelopment project.

The six empty buildings next to the Akron Civic Theater have been slated for re-use for about 20 years. But only in the last several years has funding been secured for most of the project. Earlier this year, The Bowery was denied New Market Tax Credits that would have generated about $4.5 million in capital – the final piece of funding needed to begin work.

Akron Deputy Mayor James Hardy says the city has been speaking with backers around the country to make up the difference. But if the funding isn’t in place by this summer – when construction is slated to begin -- he says the city would consider other options to get the project moving.

“Then we would absolutely look at phasing the project. We would look at aspects of the projects that we could start on now and then re-apply for the New Market Tax Credits.”

If some of the project is phased-in, Hardy says there’s a risk since the buildings have been sitting empty for so long.

Hardy on the risks of delays

“You risk further deterioration of the historic structures. And one of the key elements of this redevelopment plan is state and federal historic tax credits. And so any time you demolish an historic structure, it’s no longer eligible for historic tax credits because it doesn’t exist anymore.”

The Bowery is slated to include apartments, mixed-use retail and a grocery store.

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