Summit County Public Health has purchased the Fairway Center office building in Akron to serve as its main campus.
The health district, which announced the deal Friday, has been looking for a new site since last year when it combined with the Akron and Barberton health departments.
The district paid $600,000 for the property, which is located at 1867 W. Market St. behind the Acme grocery store. The 78,837-square-foot building has housed a variety of businesses over the years, including physician offices, radio stations and newspaper offices.
The district bought the property, which had been appraised for $3.29 million, from Bardin Road Ventures Inc. of New York.
“The Board of Health and our staff are extremely pleased to be able to assume this fine facility as the future home of the health district,” Health Commissioner Gene Nixon said in a prepared statement.
The district is planning to remodel the building over the next year and move the majority of its 250 workers there. It also said it would continue to maintain some satellite locations.
The district’s administrative offices are now on Graham Road in Stow. The district also has been using the Akron-owned Morley Health Center on South Broadway as part of a three-year deal with the city.
Officials have wanted to bring more of its employees under one roof for efficiency and cost-savings reasons.
It’s unclear what will happen to the Graham Road and Morley facilities once the health district leaves them.
“Those decisions are still being made,” Deputy Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said.
There also are some tenants at the Fairway Center building with long-term leases. Those leases are being evaluated, Skoda said.
“Our plan isn’t to kick anybody out,” she added.
Other agencies may move
Earlier this year, Summit County announced it was shopping around Akron for a building big enough and accessible enough to house its welfare agency, countywide health district and possibly other agencies.
The new health district site isn’t large enough to accommodate both the Department of Job and Family Services and Public Health, which operates independently of the county government.
But other county agencies might move into the office building once the health district determines how much space will be available, Skoda said.
Job and Family Services is under some pressure to find a new home. The welfare agency occupies multiple buildings on North Main Street and another nearby facility on North High Street in downtown Akron. But the county has promised the North Main space to the growing Austen BioInnovation Institute.
County Executive Russ Pry couldn’t be reached about the health district purchase. He has called finding a new site for Job and Family Services the top “building project” for the county.
Rick Armon can be reached at 330-996-3569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.