A building that has stood for more than 100 years in the former Goodyear headquarters could be demolished next year. Until then, the vacant structure has attracted intruders who, in late March, left three fires on the sixth floor of the structure.
The former rubber compounding plant at 1080 River St. is a few hundred feet from the complex that is now the East End office, retail, residential and recreational development on East Market Street.
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The fires reported around 11:30 a.m. on March 29 were discovered by contractors. It took about an hour to clear the building, according to the Akron Fire Department.
The department’s public information officer, Lt. Sierjie Lash, said she didn’t have full details as of April 8, but said the fires were likely started by “just people trying to stay warm”. They weren’t there when we arrived.
Temperatures in Akron that morning were in the upper 30s.
Current demolition plan
Trespassing and related concerns should not be a long-term problem, said Paul Harris, general manager of East End development.
Even though the East End project is still renting apartments and offices, there are plans to demolish the old mixing plant and leave the space as a green buffer, although the land could be reallocated at a later date, Harris said .
He said an application is underway in partnership with the Summit County Development Finance Authority for funding through the state’s brownfields remediation program.
“If we are successful, the goal is to remediate and demolish the property and turn it into virgin land for now until there is future need or future use,” he said. he declares.
“It’s been around since around 1915 and went out of business in 2016,” he said. “After about a year and a half of dismantling, it has been vacant since February 2018.
“A lot of work will have to be done because of the era in which it was built and the activities that take place there,” he added, explaining that the chemical-intensive rubber compounding process makes the owndifferent from others in the development of the East End.
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If the funding request is approved, he said the goal of demolishing the building would be by the end of 2023.
As for the fires, Harris said the building has 24-hour security and cameras, so he doesn’t think people have lived there for very long.
“They come in and go out. We are continuously securing the building,” he said. “It’s an ongoing thing that we deal with. It’s not something we want to keep doing forever. That’s another reason to do that demolition and clean it up.
The East End still growing
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. began operations at the East Market Street site around 1909. The complex served as a manufacturing plant until 1962, when it was converted into the world headquarters of the business.
Goodyear’s headquarters, which has 2,000 employees, moved to its new 639,000 square foot Innovation Way facility in 2013, following the purchase of the East Market Street complex by California developer Stuart Lichter and his company, Industrial Realty Group.
There are no long-term plans for ownership of the mixed mill as East End development is still ongoing, Harris said.
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The East End complex is home to a Hilton Garden Inn hotel, as well as offices, apartments, restaurants and entertainment venues, including the 1,458-seat Goodyear Theatre. It is also home to the Rubber City Sports Group and includes Goodyear Hall, a 3,500-seat arena, and the Goodyear Gym, where the futsal and volleyball leagues compete.
“We have quite a bit of space available,” he said. “We are working on office leases and building more apartments and lofts. We just opened 66 lofts in November.”
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Harrisaid, there are now 172 apartments in the complex, including the 66 that recently opened.
“We also have land units,” he said, referring to the building plots available on the 400-acre site.
Eric Marotta can be reached at 330-541-9433, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @MarottaEric.