Editorial: Akron finds a way forward despite loss of malls, landmark venue


Change is constant in Akron.

The iconic blue dome on top of the Tangier restaurant and entertainment venue is gone. The West Market Street site has been home to innumerable concerts, banquets and family celebrations over the decades.

… But quiet and decay will not replace the applause and laughter. The LeBron James Family Foundation bought the complex last year and plans a retail, dining and event community space to benefit I Promise School families and children. Work is ongoing.

It’s not surprising that a visionary has stepped in to find a new use for a site filled with memories. Even without the likes of a well-funded charity like the James foundation, Akron has a way of making things happen.

… But today, the area is unrecognizable – in a good way. In 2016, the city acquired the site and quickly began demolition at a cost of $450,000. Through local and state tax incentives, as well as road improvements in the area, Amazon was convinced to buy the site and build a fulfillment center designed to employ 1,500 people.

To prevent Chapel Hill Mall from ending up like Rolling Acres, Mayor Dan Horrigan’s administration spoke with the former owner over the years about finding new uses for the mall, Jason Segedy, Akron’s director of planning and urban development, said in January.

With the city supporting rezoning, Industrial Commercial Properties (ICP) bought the mall in March and plans to find new, mostly nonretail uses for it. Nearby retailers are among those welcoming the business park that is expected to have a mix of offices, warehouses and light industrial businesses.

As part of the transition, ICP plans to donate the mall’s beloved carousel to the city, which plans to have it installed at Lock 3 park.

… But we think the city has learned how to strengthen relationships with Summit County, the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce, philanthropies and the private sector. Let’s hope that can continue with promising results.

— The Akron Beacon Journal, July 18