Akron received authorization from City Council to apply for a HUD loan to put a grocery store in Highland Square.
City Development Manager Adele Roth explains to AkronNewsNow.com that this was a big first step in the process of getting the much-needed store in the neighborhood.
"This was hugely important," she said. "Getting authorization from Council to apply for this money really makes the deal happen."
The Section 108, $3.8 million loan will assist with the construction of the store itself, which will provide a Mustard Seed grocer to the eclectic Akron neighborhood.
Helen Tomic of the Department of Planning and Urban Development says the 20 year payment plan at a .74 interest rate is a deal that can't be beat.
"It's very difficult to get a loan these days, and even if we were successful in getting a loan, I do not think we would not get a loan with a .74 interest rate," she said.
"What HUD is offering is really an ideal situation for us."
Roth says its tough to get a loan for a business in today's economy to begin with and even more so for grocery stores in urban areas.
"There would be developers all over the country who would be clamoring to build something and only pay a .74 interest rate," she says.
Tomic says the loan process takes up anywhere from six to eighteen months and it was best to seek Council's approval to move forward early in the store's development.
With the loan, the city will get the green light to construct a two-story, 12,400 foot grocery store located at the northeast corner of the intersection of West Market Street and Portage Path.
The new grocery store will be a Mustard Seed Market owned by a couple residing in Highland Square. They currently own two other Mustard Seed Markets, a 31,000 square foot store in Montrose and another store in Solon, Ohio.
The approval came with some words of encouragement from those who voted to put the plan in place.
Ward 1 Councilman Jim Hurley III said that ever since he was elected to the position of Ward 1 Councilman five years ago that he would see to it that the store got put in the neighborhood once again.
"I'm grateful to the Mayor, the administration, and Adele Roth for moving this project forward," he says. "The residents of Highland Square have wanted a grocery store in their neighborhood since the Albrecht -owned store moved out in 2002, and now we're one step closer to moving the project closer to fruition."
For the residents of Highland Square, the approval from Akron City Council to apply for a HUD loan to put a grocery store in the neighborhood was welcome news.
Mark Smith says the move was a step in the right direction.
"It's great that the city is moving forward with getting a grocery store in Highland Square," he said.
Ronald Higgins explains how a new store would benefit the senior citizens and those who don't have cars to get their groceries.
"We really look forward to supporting the developers of this store and providing an outlet for those who need it the most."