KENT — One of Kent’s most distinctive properties — the old Star of the West Mill — was sold last week, according to Portage County property records.

The 0.83-acre property, which includes the towering grain silos that help define Kent’s skyline, was sold to The Tulips LLC for $405,000.

Kent Economic Development Director Tom Wilke said The Tulips is represented locally by Badreeyeh Al Hasawi and Manouchehr Salehi, who were not immediately available for comment.

Salehi and Al Hasawi also are building a six-story building at the corner of Erie Street and Franklin Avenue, which will house a wine bar and bakery on the first floor, restaurant on the second floor, and apartments on floors three through six, totaling 48 units.

Finding a buyer for the main Star of the West Mill property at 162 North Water St. has been a goal of the city’s for several years. There are several other properties the mill still owns just north of the one acquired by The Tulips.

Last fall, the North Water Street property owners hosted a Better Blocks event, bringing to life some of the potential improvements to the streetscape that are planned for the area as a way to stimulate conversation about how to update the block. Some of the temporary installments were streetscape changes the city is planning while others would be up to property owners to make permanent. As much planning as the event set in motion, there was always the future of the mill to consider.

In 2017, DS Architects of Kent conducted an analysis of the former mill, outlining its history, infrastructure and potential uses. The mill ceased operations in the summer of 2016. That fall, residents attended a City Council meeting seeking assurance the 1879 structure would not be torn to the ground.

Since then, Wilke has said he hopes to find a buyer interested in keeping the building. At this point, Salehi and Al Hasawi have not announced what their plans are for the mill.

The 2017 study by DS Architects identified two general plans for the facility, both aimed at maintaining keeping the structure.

Option 1

The first proposal features retail, restaurant and office space on the basement level of the building.

On the ground floor, the first option includes additional restaurant, retail and office space, as well as some apartments, and the second floor would also include apartments.

Option 2

The second option includes a North Water Street-facing market or grocery store on the basement and ground level, as well as a downstairs café with indoor and outdoor dining, complemented by a microbrewery.

The ground level would feature offices facing the river, a courtyard and gym, including rock climbing and skydiving areas in the silos.

The second level would include offices for the market or grocery story and professional offices overlooking the river.

Originally opened as the Peerless Roller Mills in 1879 by C.A. and S.T. Williams, the mill was expanded twice in the 19th century to accommodate growth, according to the DS Architects study. The company also was renamed the Williams Brothers Co. early on.

“The Williams Brothers had a very good reputation and produced the most quality flour used to make cookies, cakes, ice cream cones, pastries and religious wafers,” states the study. Clients included Archway Cookies, Pepperidge Farms, and H.J. Heinz Company.

Star of the West Milling Co. bought the business in 1999.

 

Reporter Bob Gaetjens can be reached at 330-541-9440, bgaetjens@recordpub.com or @bobgaetjens_rpc.