One of the area’s most unique housing projects is nearly ready for move-in.

The first phase of the Hercules project—90 market-rate apartments—was set to be completed December 18.

During a Leadership Stark County tour in mid-November, the smells of fresh paint and new wood lingered in the corridors of the renovated factory. Common areas and apartments waited for decoration and furniture. But it didn’t take much imagination to see the future—a luxury complex that combines the historical with the modern in a way you won’t find anywhere else.

“When people come downtown, they want a special, unique place to live,” said developer Steve Coon.

Apartments in the suburbs or towns, “they’re just white boxes. They’re all the same,” he said. “People don’t want that anymore. They want things that are special and unique. That tell a story.”

Coon, who is also involved in the Historic Onesto Lofts and Bliss Tower downtown, points to the building’s “grand entrance” and the ability to look through a skylight to a lit smokestack. He also cites the train tracks that run right past the building. In a few weeks, those trains will just be white noise to residents, he said.

Coon’s business, Coon Restoration & Sealants, is renovating the complex. Hercules is owned by Cormony Development.

While leading a group through the approximately 125,000-square-foot complex, Samuel Polakoff of Cormony pointed out what would become a large living room/movie room/gathering area for residents. A massive brick fireplace spans at least two stories, offset by a gold and glass chandelier. The space soon will feature plenty of seating and possibly a bar that could be used for coffee in the morning and cocktails at night.

It’s one of several gathering spaces in the building, including a co-working space designed for residents who work remotely or want a quiet place to focus outside of their apartment.

The one- and two-bedroom apartments range from 600 square feet to about 2,400 square feet.

“The units are all very similar in texture, but they’re all different,” Polakoff said on the tour.

The Hercules buildings date back as far 1850, with the newest sections built in 1950. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, allowing developers to take advantage of the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive program.

That program came with numerous requirements to ensure the building was preserved, Polakoff said.
The apartments all feature the same modern-industrial styling such as white subway tiled bathrooms, sleek black kitchen islands/bars and coordinating cabinets and high-end appliances. They all include high ceilings, plenty of natural light and energy-efficient windows designed to mirror the historical windows they’ve replaced.

But each unit embraces the building’s history in a different way. One unit has a concrete pillar in the living area. Some have wood beams or exposed brick or industrial relics such as the mechanics of a long-gone pulley system.

Ten units on the bottom floor have a private patio, flanked by brick walls. Stepping through the glass doors outside, it’s easy to forget that you’re in downtown Canton.

And that’s sort of the goal.

Folks don’t need to travel to Cleveland or Pittsburgh to find what they’re looking for, Coon said.

“We’re going to see a brand new downtown Canton. We’re definitely moving in the right direction.”

For more information, see hercules-canton.com.

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Jessica Holbrook
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