AKRON, Ohio – The LeBron James Family Foundation announced Tuesday it has purchased The Tangier, an iconic 60,000-square-foot restaurant and entertainment venue in Akron’s West Hill neighborhood, with plans to turn it into a multi-use facility for the community and students at the nearby I Promise School.
Over the next year, the foundation will turn The Tangier into “House Three Thirty,” which will include spaces dedicated to providing resources for members of the community and students and families at the I Promise School, an Akron public school opened in 2018 in partnership with the foundation for some of the city’s most at-risk children.
House Three Thirty will include many corporate-sponsored rooms, including a financial center with JPMorgan Chase, where Chase bankers will offer financial advice and resources to families; a sports complex from the DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation; fast casual dining with Old El Paso; and the J.M. Smucker HomeTown Hall, an indoor dining and gathering space for family meals and community conversations. Plans also call for a retail space, a coffee bar, lounge, private card room, ice cream parlor and cabaret, the LeBron James Family Foundation said in a news release.
The foundation plans to open House Three Thirty in 2022.
It is the latest iteration of the foundation purchasing and renovating property in Akron near the I Promise School at 400 West Market Street. Earlier this year, the I Promise Village by Graduate Hotels opened at the former Westmont apartment building on Rhodes Avenue for I Promise students and families experiencing homelessness, domestic violence or other unforeseen circumstances.
“Our main goal in everything we do is to support and prepare our families for a better future,” James said in the release. “And this concept, House Three Thirty, is the next step of that journey. I’m excited to open a space that puts everything we want to offer them under one roof. From getting them hands-on job training and financial guidance to having a space for important community events and safe physical activities, this is what we’ve learned our community needs. I can’t wait to see this come to life.”
The Tangier, which opened in 1948, had been struggling financially this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, longtime owner Ed George told cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer.
Both George and a spokeswoman for the LeBron James Family Foundation declined to say how much the building was sold for. Summit County records show the property – assessed at $387,410 – was sold on Dec. 11, but does not include an amount sale.
George said the decision to sell the venue was “bittersweet,” because it marks an end of an era, but he’s happy that the building is going to further James’ foundation and his vision for Akron. The business will still operate for the next year, hosting weddings and other previously scheduled events.
When asked whether business had taken a downturn this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, George said, “that’s an understatement.
“I mean, what restaurant or bar hasn’t?” George said. “Plus, we were a full-service operation for years – restaurant, dining, banquets, shows. So, yeah, it has, but we thought this was a great opportunity for The Tangier and much comfort to us, with mixed feelings, that as we leave this industry, someone like LeBron, who has done so much for this city, is going to be involved.”
George said the purchase represents a “full-circle moment,” since James attended events and spoke at The Tangier during his time in high school at St. Vincent-St. Mary and his subsequent rise to international fame.
The Tangier’s tenure as an entertainment and banquet powerhouse included headliners such as Tina Turner, The Temptations, Frankie Valle and the Four Seasons, James Brown and Natalie Cole, which drew audiences from across the country, with even sitting President George H.W. Bush coming to a show. But George said there was one reason The Tangier was successful: the people of Akron.
“Throughout the years, we’ve had so much community support, it’s unbelievable,” George said. “We’ve had people have five or six weddings at The Tangier. We’ve had people have so many happy occasions, and you know what, we’re so grateful to this community for the way they looked at our restaurant and for the great memories that many, many people had. Some of the best memories of their life were at The Tangier, and we’re proud to serve them.”