Carol Biliczky

If you’ve always wanted to sleep in one of Quaker Square’s round silo rooms, act quickly.

Quaker Square Inn will host its last guests Saturday and close Sunday.

That will usher in a new chapter for the downtown Akron hotel in the onetime dining and shopping complex: that of a residence hall completely devoted to students, but with public access to other areas.

“The public spaces will remain fairly close to what we have now,” said Laurie Madden, UA associate vice president of auxiliary enterprises.

“The public can go into any of the [other] spaces at Quaker Square.”

UA bought Quaker Square from Akron businessman Jay Nusbaum in 2007 for $22.7 million. It set aside some rooms for a student residence hall and rented the rest under the name of the Quaker Square Inn.

Occupancy at the inn has been low, however, because it doesn’t have a marquee name or use a national reservation system, Ted Curtis, UA vice president for capital planning and facilities management, has said.

In addition, converting all hotel rooms to student use will buoy another UA decision: to close the outdated Gallucci and Grant residence halls.

After UA invests $700,000 to convert the final Quaker Square hotel rooms to student use and to enhance the facility, it will have a total of 2,888 residence hall beds this fall, 403 of them at Quaker.

When UA seals off the student rooms to the public, visitors still will be able to go to the banquet rooms on the first floor of the hotel and to the ballroom in the nearby Quaker Station.

Several stores, although far more limited than in Quaker Square’s heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, will remain open.

Schumacher’s Restaurant will be open more limited hours; the Pie Factory will continue to sell desserts, including oatmeal cookies.

The General Store, one of the highlights of the old Quaker Square, will continue to sell gifts and is home to a comic-book store and a free train museum that UA developed with Quaker Square memorabilia.

A student dining area, the Trackside Grille, and Zee’s Convenience Store, which provides fast food and health and beauty supplies, also will be open to the public.

Seven tenants will continue to lease offices in the complex. UA also houses some offices, including the Confucius Institute, at Quaker Square.

The facility originally was built as a Quaker Oats factory in 1932, with 36 round silos designed to store grain. Private investors developed the property into a dining, shopping and entertainment complex that opened in 1975.

Carol Biliczky can be reached at cbiliczky@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3729.