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City-Owned Property | "CitiCenter" | 146 South High Street, Akron, Ohio 44308
Parcel: 68-62135 | RFP No.: 2022OID2

The City of Akron is soliciting proposals from qualified developers for the purchase and development of a downtown property located at 146 South High Street, Akron, Ohio 44308. The totality of the property is a 0.27 acre plot located at the Northwest corners of S High and Bowery Streets (parcel 68-62135. See overhead photo of parcels below.

CitiCenter Aerial 

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The subject property (“CitiCenter”) is comprised of an 11 story, 113,400 square foot building that is connected via a skywalk to many strategic buildings including the Akron Municipal Building, 159 Main, Ohio Building, Ocasek Building, Stubbs Justice Center and the Polsky Building, which is undergoing a $20 million renovation.

Additionally, the skywalk connects to the attached City-owned parking deck and the Summit County parking deck a block to the south. The city will entertain proposals that include the development/purchase of the attached City-owned parking deck, though not required. Parking spaces in the City-owned deck are available for lease.

The zoning for the property is U3, H4, A5. This allows for apartments and retail usage. The CitiCenter building is also within the Downtown Area Redevelopment Area and is subject to the Downtown Area Redevelopment Plan; this plan can be found here.

Currently, the property is vacant. CitiCenter is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as it was erected in 1933 as a YWCA facility that housed a pool and athletic facility on the 4thand 5th floors. Most recently, it housed various City offices, the CitiCenter Athletic Club, and Akron Municipal Credit Union. The CitiCenter is within easy walking distance to all the Downtown attractions including EJ Thomas, Canal Park, the Akron Civic Theatre, Knight Stage, Akron Summit Library, the Bowery Development, the Convention Center, and Locks 3 and 4, which are undergoing a $10 million renovation. It is also within one block of 159 Main and the Bowery, two major mixed-use redevelopment projects near completion.

CitiCenter offers an opportunity for development within the City of Akron. This commercial structure is located within the Downtown Redevelopment Area.  As such, Developers should refer to Akron's Downtown Vision and Redevelopment Plan,  as they develop their strategy for the property to make the development complementary to the district. The City of Akron is seeking proposals that will enhance the vibrancy of downtown and has a particular interest in mixed-use residential/retail/office projects that can activate the streetscape while providing places for people to live and work.

The City is seeking proposals that:

  • Will enhance the vibrancy of the area.
  • Take advantage of the many amenities nearby.
  • Residential, office, neighborhood retail uses, or a mixed-use combination would all be desirable on this site.
  • Projects should activate the streetscape, support walkability, and follow Best Practices for urban design.

Based on the Proposals submitted, the City intends to enter into a Redevelopment Agreement with the selected partner. The Redevelopment Agreement will include a purchase price for the CitiCenter based on Fair Market Value. The fixed purchase price will be required at closing.


The proposal and project shall be consistent with the terms contained in this Request for Proposals and should include the following:

  1. A cover letter to provide a summary of your proposed project, including your name, mailing address, contact numbers and email address, and the price offered to purchase the Property.
  2. A Narrative describing your project concept. To the extent available include site drawings and any available data from your “architectural program.”
  3. A detailed timetable for accomplishing the concept you propose. This timetable should show sequencing, if any, and contingencies.
  4. The desired method of acquisition. State with specificity the form of and proposed consideration for acquiring the Property from the City. All contingencies, including but not limited to financing contingencies should be clearly identified.
  5. A written Incentives Requests. Your proposal shall state with specificity incentives, if any, requested of the City in connection with the project. The City’s 15-year real property tax abatement program may be available for qualified residential projects. Questions regarding that program may be submitted in the manner described below.
  6. A Sources and Uses Table outlining the total expected cost of the project and the amounts and types of expected sources. Indicate whether any of the sources are already secured and, if possible, include term sheets or letters of interest.
  7. Include any additional information you consider necessary for the City to evaluate your proposal.

The City chooses not to establish a specific format for your proposal. Your proposal, however, shall contain concise written material and illustrations. Legibility, clarity, and completeness are essential. Each item in our Proposal Guidance must be addressed. Additional material, such as drafts of proposed agreements, may be included in an appendix to your proposal but will be regarded as samples subject to negotiations


The Mayor’s Office of Integrated Development shall review and evaluate proposals received by the due date and make its recommendation to the Mayor. Any agreement will be subject to the approvals of City Council and other applicable boards or commissions.

  • The City shall consider the following information when evaluating submitted proposals to determine which proposal, in the sole judgment of the City’s administration, is in the best interest of the City:
  • The proposal is best suited to complement the objectives of the Plan in a way that is financially sound and sustainable, attractive to the community, and supportive of the City’s vision.
  • The proposal is in the best financial interest of the community with consideration to purchase price offered and future tax generation potential.
  • The Developer’s Direct and substantial experience in planning and developing significant building projects with a municipal partner
  • The Developer’s Financial stability and credentials to perform its proposal.

Your proposal must be received no later than 3:00 p.m. EST on April 30, 2023. Your proposal shall be labeled “RFP 2022OID2 CitiCenter Proposal".

All proposals should be uploaded online at Akronohio.Submittable.com and selecting the application for CitiCenter Proposal RFP.

The City of Akron reserves the right to:

  • Modify, waive, or vary terms of the RFP at any time, including and not limited to submission deadlines, and proposal requirements
  • Select more than one proposal to develop the entire property or portions thereof
  • Reject any or all proposals
  • Cancel or withdraw the RFP at any time
  • Accept the proposal which best serves the interest of the City

The following schedule represents the anticipated timeline for the selections of the RFP. If the need arises, the schedule may be altered by the City of Akron. During this process, the City may seek additional information from the responders. In addition, the City may request the responders to make a presentation of their proposal.

The estimated schedule is as follows:

        RFP Distribution March 1, 2023

        Proposal Due Date April 30, 2023

        Review of Proposals May 1, 2023, through June 30, 2023

        Award of Proposal  July 15, 2023

The City will assume that any respondent submitting a proposal has familiarized themselves with the Property enough to submit a knowledgeable proposal.

The City may choose to conduct interviews during the Review of Proposal period with any and/or all of the respondents.

All questions about this RFP should be directed by email to David Messner at dmessner@akronohio.gov. Questions should be submitted no later than April 15, 2023. Any responses to questions will be posted to the “Developers” section of the City’s website: akronohio.gov/rfp


  • Respondent shall work with the City of Akron, prior to execution of a contract to modify the project to fit the best interest of the City.
  • Respondent shall certify that it is not delinquent in the payment of real estate taxes or City of Akron income tax.
  • City reserves the right to make no selection.
  • In submitting a response to this RFP and in the performance of any resulting award each respondent warrants that it has complied with and/or will comply with all federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, and lawful rules and regulations thereunder. Respondents further agree: 1) not to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of age, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, familial status, sex, gender (including gender identity) sexual orientation, or military status and 2) That every subcontract related to the Project will contain a provision requiring nondiscrimination in employment as specified above.
  • The respondent, by submitting a proposal agrees that any cost it incurs in responding to this RFP or in support of activities associated with this RFP, are to be borne by the respondent and are not the responsibility of the City. The City will incur no obligation or liability whatsoever to anyone by reason of the issuance of this RFP, or action by anyone relative thereto.

Thank you for your interest in the City of Akron. We look forward to hearing from you.

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What is Akron's Residential CRA Tax Abatement Program?

  • The abatement allows owners to pay taxes solely on the pre-improvement assessed value of their residential property for 15 years after improvements are completed. Property owners will not be required to pay property taxes on any increase in value that resulted from renovation or new construction on the property for a period of 15 years.
  • The abatement stays with the property for the 15-year duration of the abatement. If it is sold during the 15-year period of the abatement, the new owner continues to receive the abatement. 
  • At the end of the 15 years of abatement the property will be taxed at its total post-improvement assessed value. 

What types of improvements qualify? 

Major Improvements that MAY qualify homeowner for tax abatement. 

  • Building a new porch
  • Remodel a basement/attic into living space
  • New additions to an existing structure
  • Install a sunroom
  • New construction
  • Gut and renovate a home or apartment building
  • Build or enlarge a garage
  • Install indoor fireplace
  • Install new additional bathroom

Are there any restrictions? 

  • Appropriate building permits must be issues to qualify for the tax abatement. Certificates of Occupancy or final inspections signed PRIOR TO APRIL 24, 2017 WILL NOT qualify for the property abatement.
  • The property must be located in the City of Akron and identified on the Summit County Fiscal Office Auditor property card as being located within the City of Akron.
  • Property Taxes and assessments cannot be delinquent.
  • The property must be appropriately maintained or the tax exemption may be revoked.
  • Only residential structures are eligible of the abatement. For mixed-use structures, only the residential portion will be eligible.
  • Property must meet City of Akron zoning requirements.
  • A minimum of $5,000 investment in renovation or construction is required to apply.
  • Per Ohio Revised Code Section 3735.67, if the housing structure qualifies as a historic structure, the appropriateness of the remodeling must be certified, in writing, by an authorized person or organization prior to issuance of the abatement. 

What are the steps in the process?

Step 1 - The developer or owner must pull a building permit with the Summit County Building Department located at 1030 E, Tallmadge Ave. #3, Akron, OH 44310

Step 2 - Upon pulling a permit, provide a copy of the permit and complete the City of Akron Community Reinvestment Tax Abatement - Residential Application. The application can be summited online or mail to:        

                   City of Akron Tax Abatement

                   Department of Planning and Urban Development

                   Long Range Planning

                   166 S. High Street, Room 401

                   Akron, OH 44308

Step 3 - The City of Akron Department of Planning and Urban Development reviews the applications for completeness. If the Application and supporting documentation meet the requirements, the application will be processed for tax abatement. The application will be forwarded to the County Auditor's Office.

Step 4 - The Summit County Auditor will conduct a field inspection and verify the new construction/rehabilitation. Value (if appropriate) will be added to the property. Tax adjustments will be made accordingly. 

The tax abatement program does NOT guarantee abatement for county periodic reassessments. The abatement is only for the increase in assessed property tax value triggered by the current remodeling or new construction improvements.

For more information about the City of Akron's Community Reinvestment Area Tax Abatement Program or download a copy of the application visit our website: 



NOTE: These federal funds REQUIRE historic coordination for buildings over 50 years and for buildings in a historic district (Aster Ave, Kenmore Blvd).  If funds are approved, businesses with historic designation MUST work with architect specializing in historic renovation AND accept their recommendations prior to beginning work. 

Notes about Federal Funds

· This program is funded with Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As such, the program is subject to federal regulation and review by federal.

· Please note: businesses are qualified at the federal level based on household earnings of the census block in which they are located. Businesses in the Wallhaven district do not qualify for the Matching Façade Grant.

Program Eligibility and Application

· Owners of business property in specified Great Streets areas are eligible to apply for financial assistance under this program. All applicants must be pre-qualified by the City to receive assistance according to Federal guidelines.  Applications will be ranked based on pre-determined criteria provided on page 16 of this packet. It is not guaranteed that all applicants will receive assistance.

· Property owners must be current on taxes OR have been making faithful payments for six months prior to applying. Property owners must continue to make faithful payments and/or stay current on taxes until the project is completed.

· Project eligibility must be confirmed by the Office of Integrated Development. Application forms may be obtained online at www.greatstreetsakron.com, or from the Office of Integrated Development Staff at (330) 375-2355.

· A Unique Entity ID (generated by SAM.gov) is required to apply. The Unique Entity ID is a 12-character alphanumeric ID assigned to an entity by SAM.gov. As of April 4, 2022, the DUNS Number has been removed from SAM.gov and is no longer required. Entity registration, searching, and data entry in SAM.gov now require use of the new Unique Entity ID. Existing registered entities can find their Unique Entity ID by following the steps here. New entities can get their Unique Entity ID at SAM.gov and, if required, complete an entity registration. If awarded a grant, you MUST submit a SAM number BEFORE your contract can proceed. Again, please note that contracts will not be processed without a SAM number

· After receipt of an application and confirmation of a possible grant award, a representative of the Office of Integrated Development will contact the applicant. The representative will meet with eligible applicants to review their property, offer recommendations for building and site improvements, and assist the applicant through the review process.

Matching Grants for Façade and Site Improvements

· Matching grants from the City are available only for exterior improvements and/or site improvements. Eligible items include façade renovation, brick and masonry cleaning, painting, installation of new doors and windows, signage improvements, outdoor lighting, outdoor security cameras, roofing, paving and landscaping of on-site parking areas and architectural fees. HVAC and building additions do not generally qualify for assistance.

· Proposed improvements will be reviewed for compliance with building and zoning code standards, including hard surfacing and landscape screening of parking areas.

· Grants must be matched dollar-for-dollar by private funds. Applicants must provide proof of financial means for their share of project funding to the City prior to the start of construction. Architectural fees may be used as part of private matching share.

· Grant funds will be disbursed only AFTER the City has verified the completion of work, and final paid invoices have been submitted. Please note these are REIMBURSEMENT grant funds for completed work.

· Project improvement costs are eligible for payment only if completed AFTER approval by the Office of Integrated Development (OID) and subject to the dates specified within the signed contract between the City and the recipient. Grant awardees should NOT begin work on their project until AFTER there is a signed and fully executed contract with OID. 

· Maximum grant is $30,000.

· Grants are awarded by building, rather than address or parcel. This means a strip mall/plaza would be eligible for one grant; an owner with multiple separate structures on the same parcel would be able to apply for each structure.

· Since these façade improvement grants are public funds, participants are encouraged to get multiple bids for their project if possible. This allows for some assurance that the project pricing is competitive and there is an opportunity to support local businesses.

· As stated above, two or more official construction bids are encouraged before the application goes to final approval. For this purpose, preliminary construction estimates from a licensed contractor are strongly encouraged with your application. This puts the scope of the project in context to the applicant and speeds up the final approval phase. It is highly recommended that an applicant begin collecting construction bids once they receive a preliminary approval letter.

· The selected contractor(s) are required to maintain a business license with Summit County, as well as, insurance coverage in the type and amounts deemed necessary by the City. Additionally, selected contractors must comply with Federal requirements and restrictions related to fair labor standards, equal opportunity employment, conflict of interest and certain environmental protection issues.

· ALL contractors must be registered in the SAM’s.

· All required permits for renovation activities will be verified for each project and must be submitted with invoices. If permits are not obtained prior to renovation activities, invoices will not be paid. For information on required permits, please contact the Summit County Building Department at 330-630-7280.


Applications released – Rolling

Applications due – Rolling

Preliminary Approval Letters – As awarded

Site Visits – As scheduled

Application Review: Varies (See Below)

Application Review Process:

· After site visits, buildings 50yrs or older OR buildings residing in a historic districts (Kenmore Blvd, Aster Ave), applications will be sent for review by an architect specializing in historic renovation. Projects in historic districts or on historic buildings must be approved by historic architect PRIOR to the beginning of work

· Once final construction bids and proof of matching funds are received, application is then sent to committee for final review. We cannot move forward with processing your application if finalized bids are not submitted.

· The duration of this process varies. The more complete your application is when submitted, the more expedited the process (ie. Including a detailed scope of the project, all supplementary documentation, all construction bids, and visual architectural renderings (highly encouraged).

· Once approved by the review committee, a contract will be prepared and sent to you for signatures. Grant awardees will sign and return THREE (3) copies of their contract. None of the work outlined in your application should begin before you have signed a contract. This is to your benefit, as receipts submitted outside the timeline of the contract may be denied or delayed

· A SAM number MUST be submitted before your contract can proceed.

· Grant awardees must submit a copy of their certificate of insurance, with the city of Akron added on as an additional insured, including additional insured endorsement for commercial general liability.

· Upon receipt of your signed contract, and after it is fully executed, you will be notified that your contractors may secure permits and begin work.

Payment upon receipt of invoices: The City makes payment upon receipt of invoices and successful completion of work. You may submit invoices as work is completed; you do not have to wait until the entire project is complete. Ten percent is withheld on each payment until the overall project is completely finished. Checks are usually issued 3-6 weeks after invoices are received if a fully executed contract is in place. Again, DO NOT BEGIN WORK until you have signed and returned 3 copies of your contract, and are notified of its full execution.


Our committee often encounters business owners who want to do something but they aren’t quite sure what to do. Here are some best practices, things we like to see, and comments we typically make when reviewing applications. If you are still uncertain about what you would like to do, please contact Mark Greer at mgreer@akronohio.gov, 330-375-2133.

· Improved lighting to all sides of the building and parking lots (lighting side streets and side/back alleys serve to improve safety and increase walkability)

· Install awnings over doors and windows

· Install outdoor security cameras

· Install outdoor patio seating

· Adding green space/planters.

· Invest in signage (see signage guidelines for more details.)

· Mural installation on exposed wall

· Installing large storefront windows/opening closed off windows

· Landscaping improvements

· Power washing building façade

· Creating landscaping in large parking lots/landscaping edge to parking lot

· Beautifying the rear and sides of the building especially where there is access to alleys and parking lots.

Other things to note:

  • Coordinating with neighbors on shared parking, landscaping, signage, awnings, lighting, etc., helps create a cohesive look and feel to the neighborhood and can reduce costs if choosing the same company/contractor.
  • Coordinate with your Neighborhood Business District design standards, if applicable. Some business districts have established design guidelines which should be taken into account before planning your project, to ensure compliance and uniformity of design.  
  • Parking lot repairs, roof repairs, and other general maintenance work should typically not be the ONLY improvements done. Projects with these repairs should also include an improvement to the façade of the business (see above list for suggestions).
  • Visit the resources section of our website Greatstreetsakron.com for additional grant opportunities, sources of capital, design guide, CPTED manual, reference documents, and other helpful materials. 

Congratulations on completing the Level 3 -- Design award. With architectural and construction documents for your project, you have overcome a significant hurdle and are well on your way to determining financial and renovation needs for opening your business. 

Rubber City Match has one final award to assist you in moving your business forward. 

Level 4 – Cash. Cash awards are for building and business owners who know the full cost of their projects but require financial assistance to get open. Awardees will receive the opportunity for loan assistance by having our lending partners review their application. Awardees may be eligible to receive grants to fill the financial gap not covered by owner equity and financing for their project.

City of Akron