A nationally known chain will be a part of the Goodyear redevelopment project on Akron’s east side.
And the East Akron site of the old Goodyear headquarters building has its first tenant that will occupy a portion of the space in the tire company’s former main offices on East Market Street.
Stuart Lichter, owner of the 400-acre site, which includes the former as well as the new Goodyear headquarters, revealed these developments Tuesday after he spoke at a University of Akron-sponsored panel discussion on the economy.
“We’re about to get an approval of the hotel franchise,” Lichter said. He added that the construction of the hotel, on what is now a Goodyear parking lot, will begin in “the next few months.”
The franchise is not Wyndham hotels, which was part of the original redevelopment plan. That plan, unveiled in 2007, was revamped after lenders grew skittish in the Great Recession.
Lichter declined on Tuesday to identify the tenant for the old Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. headquarters, saying the name could be released later this week.
Lichter said the tenant would occupy 40,000 square feet. While that is nearly an acre, it represents only about 5 percent of the roughly 800,000 square feet of rentable space in the former headquarters building.
Lichter said some of the existing space will be used for a parking garage.
Redevelopment of the old headquarters begins in earnest once Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. moves into its new multistory corporate headquarters on Innovation Way (the former Martha Avenue across I-76) by April.
Goodyear employees are to move into the new headquarters building in phases through the end of March, Goodyear has said.
Lichter, nationally known for redeveloping distressed industrial sites that he buys at bargain prices, is founder and president of Industrial Realty Group, headquartered near Los Angeles. His Ohio projects include the Goodyear campus in Akron, and the 1.4-million-square-foot former site of Hoover Co. in North Canton.
Years ago, Lichter was behind the redevelopment of the sprawling Canal Place on Main Street in downtown Akron. Canal Place was once home to the B.F. Goodrich Co. headquarters and manufacturing facilities.
Joining Lichter on UA’s panel on the economy were Richard Ciccarone of McDonnell Investment Management in Oak Brook, Ill., and Barry James of James Investment Research outside Dayton. The panel, hosted by the Department of Finance in UA’s College of Business, was at Quaker Station in downtown Akron.
Panelists gave wide-ranging presentations, urging everything from energy independence to the taming of budget deficits.
“Energy is the future,” James said. “You’re right here in the hub of it,” he noted, referencing drillers extracting oil and natural gas via fracking — hydraulic fracturing — in Ohio’s Utica shale formation.
Lichter, in his panel presentation, also noted Ohio’s fledgling oil and gas industry, and said fracking is a key element in helping to “change the prospects of the industrial future of this country … all the basic industries that left this country 40 years ago are starting to come back. Ohio is perfectly positioned.”
He said industrial redevelopment will go to states that have allowed fracking and don’t mandate high energy costs.
Ciccarone said he supported Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s proposed increased “severance” tax on the drillers. After the panel discussion, Lichter said he didn’t oppose the tax, as long as Ohio’s tax stays in line with other states.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.