Akron may have found a new use for one of the empty stores at Rolling Acres Mall: a recycling center.
The City Council approved plans Monday for Pinnacle Recycling, now in Barberton, to open a new, expanded paper and plastic recycling business in Sears’ former spot at the mall.
The addition is welcome, positive news for the downtrodden mall that has seen a mass exodus of businesses, including Sears, which closed its doors at 2400 Romig Road last April.
“Thank you and welcome to Akron,” said Councilwoman Linda Omobien.
Chad O’Connor of Pinnacle told council members Monday that the company has an option to buy the building from Sears, though some details remain to be hashed out. He said the company, established in April 2010, has outgrown its home at 1055 Wooster Road N. in Barberton. The company would bring its 22 employees to Akron, with plans for another eight hires by the end of the year.
O’Connor, whose company’s clients are mostly commercial and industrial businesses, said no recycling materials would be stored outside and deliveries would be made to the back of the building.
He said the building would provide the company with more space than it needs for its Ohio operations. If the company expands further, he said, it will be into other states.
“It’s perfect for us,” he said of the Sears building, noting easy access to the freeway.
Pinnacle plans to spend about $700,000 on the property and another $650,000 on equipment and improvements, according to Akron Planning Commission documents.
The renovations would include raising the drop ceilings, lights, ventilation and sprinklers and expanding the docking area, O’Connor said.
Assistant Law Director Deborah Forfia said Akron won’t be required to honor a tax-sharing agreement with Barberton because Pinnacle is a smaller company and the city didn’t provide the company with any incentives.
Planning Director John Moore said a few of the other box stores in Rolling Acres, including the former Target and Dillard’s, also have recently been purchased. He said the ownership of the mall is separate from the large stores on the outside.
In other business, council members approved plans for Community Health Center Inc. to open a residential treatment facility for women with substance abuse problems and their children in a now-empty building at 838 Coburn St. at Russell Avenue.
Ted Ziegler of Community Health Center said the agency will use about half of the building for its offices, freeing up space in its East Market Street facilities for programming. The agency will lease the other half of the building to Ohio Multi-County Development Corp., its sister company, to initially provide residential substance abuse treatment for 16 women, potentially increasing the service to as many as 32. The women will be able to have their children live with them at the center.
The agency plans to spend $100,000 to $150,000 on renovations to the building, which formerly housed an Arlington Housing Options Plus Elderly Services facility and sat vacant for two years. The building was vandalized, including someone swiping 13 large air conditioners and downspouts, Ziegler said.
The agency plans to hire at least 20 more employees to work in the new facility and hopes to open in early March, Ziegler said.
Council members added an amendment to the legislation requiring that a fenced play area be provided for the children who stay in the facility. Councilman Mike Williams had raised questions about this, considering that the building is in a high-traffic area.
“People drive fast,” he said.
Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or firstname.lastname@example.org.