By Stan Bullard, Crain News Service
AKRON (Dec. 28, 2015) — The lights are back on at the former Goodyear Hall in Akron — and may even snap on and off more at night than in the old days.
That's because people are living in the six-story building at 1220 East Market St., which has been repurposed from the tire maker's former offices to the East End Residences.
The apartment building is the second project in Downey, Calif.-based Industrial Realty Group's (IRG) massive remake of the former corporate headquarters of Goodyear. The first addition was a Hilton Garden Inn that opened in 2014 on East Market, a year after IRG finished a new global headquarters for the tire maker at 200 Innovation Way, a few blocks away.
Although both the apartments and hotel are multimillion-dollar projects, they are the appetizers before the main course. On the south side of East Market from Goodyear Hall are four more buildings with a total of 1.4 million square feet of space that are waiting to be reinvented and repopulated in what is forecast as a $167 million development.
However, the residential aspect of the development is the most trailblazing part of the project. Goodyear's stomping grounds for the past century are primarily a business environment for the rubber maker and others. Single-family homes in the nearby Goodyear Heights neighborhood were developed to house workers at the company's former tire and rubber plants. There's been no residential project of scale there in decades. The plethora of student housing and construction the past half-decade in downtown Akron are blocks away in the city's traditional business district.
Stuart Lichter, IRG's CEO, said the lack of new housing was striking as his team studied the area.