Downtown Akron’s Bowery Project expected to generate $245 million in economic impact over 20 yearsMonday January 27, 2020

The $42 million Bowery Project to renovate six historic buildings on Main Street in downtown Akron is expected to create thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic impact, according to a study by researchers from the University of Akron and Kent State University.

Welty Building Company, the City of Akron and the Bowery Development Group announced the findings of the study, dubbed The Economic Impact Report for the Bowery Project, on Thursday at the Akron Civic Theatre, which is one of the six buildings in the project.

The project to restore the properties at the corner of South Main and East Bowery streets – from the Civic Theatre to the Akron Savings and Loan building – into a residential, office and retail complex is on schedule for completion on Nov. 29, according to Welty.

Among the report’s findings, every dollar invested into the $42 million project will result in $6 in economic impact.

“The findings of this study verify what we have been saying from day one: the Bowery Project is a truly catalytic endeavor that will help usher in the next wave of private investment in downtown Akron,” Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “Better yet, we can expect to see substantial benefits to the community within the next five years, which is even sooner than we could have hoped.”

Welty commissioned UA Professor Amanda Weinstein and KSU Professors Nadia Greenhalgh-Stanley and Shawn Rohlin to measure the direct, indirect and induced effects on the local economy from both construction and revenue generated from apartments, offices and retail spaces.

For construction, the project directly created 275 jobs and indirectly supported 122 jobs at supply companies, according to the report. Through spending, the construction project had an induced impact of creating 85 jobs, for a total of 482 jobs in the short-term.

But over the next five years, the strip is expected to create a total of 880 jobs and $114 million in revenue, according to the study.

Over 20 years, those figures will increase to 2,000 jobs and $245 million, the researchers said.

Most of that revenue will come from the construction side ($31.6 million), followed by retail ($19.6 million), business and professional services ($11.9 million), real estate ($8.2 million), health ($7.8 million) and finance ($7.7 million), according to the report.

The project will also expand the tax base with increased tax revenue of more than $7 million for Summit County and local governments over 20 years.

“The study confirms that the investment we are making in Akron will have a positive impact on the city for decades to come,” said Don Taylor, president and CEO of Welty Building Company.

Taylor said the Bowery Project was the single most complicated real estate transaction in Akron’s history.

Apartments ranging from studio to three-bedroom units are now available for lease. Monthly rents start around $1,000.

Retailers, restaurants and professionals are beginning to lease space on the lower floors of the buildings. Developers are in talks with grocery store chains and nonprofit organizations to bring fresh produce to the district.

“The Bowery will not only help revitalize downtown, but also help Akron businesses attract and retain the quality employees they need to succeed by providing the urban housing and entertainment opportunities that are important to today’s workforce,” Taylor said.

Once construction on the Bowery Project is completed, the area will still look like a work zone as crews continue Phase 1 of the Main Street Corridor Project.

The first phase of Main Street construction, stretching about half a mile from Mill to Cedar streets, is scheduled for completion by August 2020, according to a city spokeswoman.