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Akron Considers Tax Abatements to Spur Residential Development

Akron's mayor wants to offer tax rebates to developers and home owners for new residential construction. The vacant Akron Savings an Loan building downtown could qualify.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan wants the city to provide property tax abatements on new-home construction and renovations. He’s finalizing a plan aimed at spurring investment and turning the city’s weak residential growth around. The city of Cleveland has had a similar abatement program on the books for more than 20 years.

Cleveland’s abatement program eliminates taxes on new construction for 15 years, and for 10 years on renovations to existing homes. Owners still pay taxes on the land. It includes both rental and owner-occupied structures.

Cory Riordan is executive director of the Tremont West Development Corporation in Cleveland. He says the abatements help the urban neighborhood compete with suburban developments.

“We’ve been using it for the full 20 years, and it has spurred tens of millions of dollars in this neighborhood and really created an economy here as well as hundreds if not thousands of owner-occupied and rental units.”

Riordan says before the abatements, investment was scarce. But now some new homes in Tremont are valued at about $400,000. Akron officials say Mayor Horrigan’s abatement plan is expected to go before City Council in a couple of months.