Trucking supply company may use South End land for a distribution depot

The location of a possible trucking supply warehouse south of Summit Street in Kent. Image via Google Maps

About 15 acres stretching from the south side of Summit Street to residential neighborhoods in Kent’s Historic South End neighborhood may be getting a makeover.

Mytee Products, which provides the trucking industry with equipment and supplies related to loading, moving, and carrying cargo, is eying the property for use as a warehousing and distribution depot.

Mytee Products is based in Aurora, where it has a 150,000 square feet of warehouse and light manufacturing space on South Chillicothe Road. Colliers Vice President Ed Matzules said the company plans to retain its Aurora operations while adding to them in Kent.

The property has been owned by Hometown Bank since 2021, when Nypano Co., which had intended to erect a hotel on part of it, ceased operations and lost the land. The acreage includes three old railroad buildings, all erected in the mid-1850s, but which have been significantly altered since then. Matzules said Mytee Products plans to renovate and repurpose the structures for its use.

Due to extensive alterations, none of the railroad buildings are eligible for placement on the National Park Service’s Register of Historic Places, said Sandy Halem, president emeritus of the Kent Historical Society. The new owners could further alter the building for their use or tear them down altogether, she said.

Local historian and former Hometown Bank President Howard Boyle said Kent industrialist Marvin Kent had the buildings built in the early 1860s so the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad would have a base for maintenance and for building passenger and box cars.

It didn’t hurt that Kent was president of the railroad at the time, and his father, Zenas Kent, was treasurer. Marvin Kent used his clout to chart the railroad through Kent, Boyle said.

“It brought a tremendous amount of employment to the city, and that’s one of the reasons they ended up naming the city Kent, because some people were so pleased about the fact that we got all those jobs,” Boyle said.

Kent’s railroad was eventually consolidated into the Erie Railroad Co., and was seen as a trunk line that competed with the Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads. Presumably customers didn’t care who owned the lines or the cars: They were just happy to get from New York to Chicago and St. Louis in comfort.

When the railroad left Kent in the early 1930s, the Davey family, which started the Davey Tree Expert Co., bought the land and used it for the Davey Compressor Co., Boyle said. That lasted until the late 1960s or early ‘70s, when Tom Myers, son of then Davey Tree Experts president Joe Myers, used the property to house Davey Drill.

Kent Community Development Director Bridget Susel said two environmental studies conducted approximately 20 years ago found “legacy environmental contamination,” but “nothing that prohibits the site from being used for an industrial site.”

Access to the site would likely be off Summit Street, Susel said. The other access points are via the post office driveway off Franklin Avenue and residential neighborhoods in Kent’s Historic South End.

Should Mytee develop the property, the fate of Davey Drill, which is a tenant, and what will happen to an unofficial parking area at Franklin Avenue and Summit Street is anyone’s guess. The parcel closest to the intersection is all but full during large downtown events and during the weekly Haymaker Farmers’ Market.

“We hope the city would plan for the thousands of people the market brings into downtown Kent each year, to make sure there’s adequate parking to accommodate them,” said Andrew Rome, director of Haymaker Farmers’ Market.

Market attendees would still have access to free parking on Franklin Avenue and at a free lot at Franklin Avenue and West College Street, he noted.

+ posts

Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.