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Akron Children's Hospital Acquires Former Austen BioInnovation Institute Building in $4.5 Million Deal

A photo of Akron Children's Hospital main campus
Akron Children's Hospital
Akron Children's Hospital will hire around 40 to 80 new employees after acquiring the former Austen BioInnovation Building in downtown Akron.

Akron Children’s Hospital has purchased the former Austen Bio-innovation Institute building in downtown Akron for $4.5 million. For years, the hospital has leased part of the building for its simulation labs. The new space will allow for expansion and additional employees.

Under the purchase agreement, external renovations to the site are being funded by the city of Akron and Summit County. County Executive Ilene Shapiro says it’s an investment that will further economic opportunities in downtown Akron.

Shapiro: Economic impact of Akron Children's purchase
Hospital acquiring downtown building

“The improvements, I believe, that the city is going to make down there on the street is really going to add, if you will, the continued ambiance and connectivity of our community,” Shapiro said.

Legislation introduced May 24 will confirm the building’s transfer to the Development Finance Authority, which will make parking lot and façade renovations to the property.

The space was previously sold to the industrial supply company Smithers before the deal fell through. Akron Deputy Mayor James Hardy says the pandemic affected Smithers’ plans for the building.

Hardy: Previous plan feel through
Pandemic affected Smithers situation
James Hardy

“There’s really no hard feelings on anyone’s part," Hardy said. "It’s really COVID changing the financial dynamics for the partners involved. And it’s unfortunate, but it’s really, again, beneficial to have Children’s moving forward with the acquisition and renovation of this historic building in downtown Akron for their use.”

The city will continue to partner with Smithers to further their growth and maintain their longstanding relationship.

Mason Lawlor is a senior studying journalism at Kent State University, with a minor in entrepreneurship. He has been a reporter for The Kent Stater for three semesters covering sports and the city of Kent.