The city of Akron announced plans today to purchase the old Mayflower Manor in downtown Akron and help a private developer rehabilitate the 100-year old building. City officials say the high rise former hotel which is now used to house the elderly and disabled is not in good condition and needs a complete make over . The purchase however is contingent on the city receiving a federal housing and urban development loan, and finalization of an agreement with the present owner.
The former Mayflower Hotel has a strong role in the history of Alcoholics Anonymous; according to the group's website, "When Bill W., sober only a few months, was in Akron for a business deal in 1935, he stayed in the Mayflower Hotel. The business deal fell through and on Mothers Day weekend Bill, down to his last ten dollars, was pacing the lobby, listening to the sounds of merriment from the hotel's bar. Remembering that working with other alcoholics had helped him to stay sober, he went to the pay phone in the lobby and called a local clergyman, Reverend Tunks, to try to find a local alcoholic he could talk with. This phone call led to his meeting with Dr. Bob and the beginnings of Alcoholics Anonymous." (photo above from Alcoholics Anonymous online archive)
A replica of the hotel phone still exists at the Mayflower, according to the archives of the group.
News Release From The City Of Akron
Akron, Ohio (February 26, 2013) – Today, Mayor Plusquellic announced that he is making arrangements with the owners of three new developments and the owner of the Mayflower Manor to provide new, safe and secure housing for the occupants of the building, a HUD funded housing high-rise that is in need of a complete renovation. The 100 year old structure, located in downtown Akron, is a 233 unit high-rise currently housing low income individuals, who are also either disabled and/or elderly.
“There is no question that the building needs to be completely redeveloped for it to continue to be useful. And, for any renovations to occur, the residents, for their own health and safety, should be relocated. The noise, dust, and other health and safety concerns that arise with any major renovation make it necessary, I believe, to find safe new facilities for the current residents,” said Mayor Don Plusquellic. “Fortunately, the present owner has been willing to work with us over the last couple of years, rather than just signing an agreement with the Federal Government to continue subsidies, when we all know that rehabilitation of the building is in the best interests of all involved.”
The City has found enough safe and secure units in three housing developments, which are currently planned or under construction or renovation to provide housing, for these residents. The apartments are located within three different new or remodeled facilities, Valor Home (30 units dedicated to veterans, and located in Firestone Park), Spring Hill Apartments (209 one and two bedroom units, and located on Lane/Wooster), and The Commons at Madaline Park, Phases I and II (100 one bedroom units, and located off Tallmadge Avenue). The Mayflower’s owner has also indicated he is willing to move tenants into his other buildings, so as to assure all of the tenants are accommodated.
The City’s intent is to purchase and help a private developer to rehabilitate the building. However, these plans are contingent upon approval of the City’s HUD 108 Loan request and finalization of an agreement with the present owner. An ordinance to approve the loan request will be introduced to City Council soon.
Also, the City is working with the staff at the building and Community Support Services to schedule a meeting as soon as possible with the residents, who will receive relocation benefits and assistance with moving. It will be at least 18 months before residents would be required to relocate.