By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor
Last month, the University Park Alliance, a non-profit community development corporation, signed a master services agreement with internationally recognized real estate developer KUD International L.L.C. that will move forward significant change for the city’s downtown area.
UPA, working with the university, business partners and city and county government, has put together a master plan that divided the area into four downtown districts, including both urban neighborhoods and business districts: University Square, encompassing the University of Akron; Crossroads, the area around City Hospital; Main Street, downtown’s focal point; and South of Exchange, which includes Akron Children’s and Akron General Hospital. EE&K Architects of New York, led by internationally known architect Stan Eckstut, developed the plan.
KUD–a New York-based developer that is part of the global Kajima Corp., one of the world’s largest development, design and construction companies–will develop some of the projects and will help secure financing for others, working on the redevelopment of the 50 city blocks around the University of Akron and surrounding downtown areas. With the UPA-KUD deal in place, individual projects are expected to move forward in the coming months. Financial details of the partnership were not disclosed.
KUD’s development services include guarantee commitments. This means KUD will pay damages equivalent to the debt service if the project isn’t delivered by a specified date, offering protection to investors in case of delays.
University Park Alliance receives funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, University of Akron, City of Akron, Summa Health System, Akron Beacon Journal, Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron General Health System, Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, Greater Akron Chamber, Akron Public Schools and University Park’s residential and business community.
KUD International has completed projects worldwide and specializes in complex, large-scale mixed-use developments. UPA’s revitalization plan will breathe new life into Akron. It will boost the local economy and give the city the visibility it needs to attract investors, including those from out of state.