Scheduled to come to Kent in the summer of 2021 will be an all-new multipurpose building. This new project will be six stories tall and sit at the corner of Erie St and Franklin Ave. What was previously Ramella’s Pizzeria will now be turned into The Hasawai Building. This new building will consist of multiple different elements including a bakery, restaurant, and four levels of residential living. 

“The plans are pretty complex,” said Economic Development Director Tom Wilke. He explained that the building is as tall as the zoning district allows it to be within downtown, “They have to work... to stay within the height limit and still get six stories,” Wilke said.

Hasawai Building

The expected look of the Hasawai Building. 

A cause for concern has been increasing due to the unique structure of the development. “The controversy is that people are concerned that it will overshadow and not fit in with the rest of the neighborhood,” said Ward Five Representative of Kent City Council Heidi Shaffer. 

She explained that the buildings received a certificate of appropriateness after presenting the plans to the Kent Architectural Review Board.

According to The Kent, Ohio Code of Ordinances, Planning and Zoning Codes,  the Kent Architectural Review Board’s purpose is to enforce design guidelines and maintain the consistent appearance of Kent with respect to its surrounding neighbors. Once a project is deemed fitting to the community, it receives a Certificate of Appropriateness. 

The Planning and Zoning Codes says “The issuance of a Certificate Of Appropriateness indicates that the Architectural Review Board has reviewed and approved the proposed improvements.”

With the project underway, the residents of Kent will be able to enjoy many aspects of the Hasawai Building. This building will have a ground-level cafe/bar hybrid. 

“This will be a coffee shop during the day and a wine bar in the evening,” Wilke said. 

The second floor will consist of a new American food restaurant. Both the restaurant and the cafe/bar will be open to the public. The four remaining floors will be luxury residential living. 

Wilke explained that these new upmarket apartments will be aimed towards young professionals and empty-nesters who enjoy the idea of living where everything is within walkable distance. “It’s a lifestyle living in downtown … it’s very different than living where you always have to get in your car,” Wilke said. 

With local business growing in downtown, Wilke explained that increased residency will be good for Kent. He explained that downtown Kent has more charm than surrounding local cities. With the ability to walk to entertainment, dining, shopping, and living.“Kent is a unique experience you won't get anywhere else,” said Shaffer.

Theresa Lovrak covers Construction/Downtown. Contact her at tlovrak1@kent.edu

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