New homes expected for Akron’s North Hill neighborhood

October 21, 2018 GMT

New homes expected for Akron’s North Hill neighborhood

AKRON, Ohio – The city of Akron expects a dozen or more homes to go up in the North Hill neighborhood on land where Harris Elementary School once stood, city Planning Director Jason Segedy told cleveland.com.

The land is on Dayton Street, which backs up to Pitkin Street, and could accommodate about 14 homes, Segedy said. The city has been in talks with a yet-to-be-named developer to finalize a deal by year’s end and begin building as soon as next spring.

The city is expected to acquire the land from Akron Public Schools in a land swap set to be approved at Akron City Council on Monday night. The school will take ownership of a small parcel on Sumner and Allyn streets, near an existing school parking lot.

The houses would be single-family, detached homes, that would likely be marketed for about $150,000-$175,000, he said. Residents buying houses will be able to take advantage of Akron’s residential tax abatement program, which abates property tax on new construction and substantial reconstruction for 15 years.

With 60-foot frontage, the front yards of the houses might be slightly larger than many existing lots on Dayton and a small park-like area would likely be designed into the plan, he said. Overall, the houses would be designed to complement the architecture of the existing homes, most of which were built between 1913 and 1940, and would blend well with the neighborhood, he said.

The developers would offer an option for residents who wish to remain in the North Hill neighborhood, but would like a to move into a slightly larger or newer house without leaving the community.

In July, the city announced the first new residential development this century would be built by Knez Homes on seven acres off Diagonal Road. The $12 million, 51-house allotment, called the Crossing at Auldfarm, will be priced from $179,500 to $279,900, with the value of the finished development totaling about $12 million.

North Hill has been known as Akron’s international neighborhood for decades, with multiple generations of some families living in proximity to one another. The latest large wave of immigrants came from the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan. They had been living in refugee camps in Nepal, and relocated to Akron with the help of the International Institute of Akron, which is also in North Hill.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about the vibrancy that the new immigrants are bringing to the neighborhood, but there hasn’t been a lot of new stuff built there in terms of new housing or retail,” Segedy said. “This could be a really good opportunity to get some new houses and boost confidence in the neighborhood.”

North Hill is one of the 10 neighborhoods Akron named in its Great Streets initiative earlier this year. The Great Streets neighborhoods, which all have small business districts, have access to evolving loans, grants to neighborhood improvement organizations, facade-improvement grants and street enhancements to help boost vibrancy in the business districts.

Temple Square, at the center of North Hill, was once a thriving business district. Now, many storefronts are empty and North Hill has some other small business districts that need attention.

“A new housing development might encourage investors to fill in some of those vacant areas,” Segedy said. “I think these houses would be extremely popular.”

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