AKRON, Ohio – The LeBron James Family Foundation (LJFF) gave community members a first look at its House Three Thirty Community Center, Multipurpose Center and Skills Training Center on Wednesday to commemorate 330 Day AKA March 30.
Named after the area code that encompasses Akron, Canton and Youngstown, House Three Thirty is scheduled to open in January. It is located in the old Tangier Event Center on West Market Street in downtown Akron. The 60,000 square foot space will serve as a one-stop-shop for I Promise family members and community members – helping them reach their potential by providing financial education, job training, recreational opportunities, meals monthly and more.
Why Maison Trois Trente?
House Three Thirty seeks to bring about change in the community so that everyone can live their dreams, according to LJFF chief executive Michele Campbell.
One of the ways House Three Thirty will do this is by providing professional training opportunities for I Promise students, their families and members of the community. From cooking and serving to accounting and event planning, individuals can try out careers that interest them and learn skills to help them gain experience.
“The world is struggling right now post COVID. Finding employees is difficult, even before COVID. It’s about the culture that you create and providing a place where people wake up and want to come to work every day, and that’s what it will be for our students, our families and our community,” Campbell said. .
In addition to vocational training, the LJFF wants the house to be a destination for community members and visitors.
“We want this to be a destination in Akron where we can show off our city and bring people here and let them into the philosophies of what ‘We Are Family’ looks like in action,” Campbell said. “We want this to be a place where our students, our families, our community can come and reserve space, hang out and create lasting memories.”
Finally, the foundation wants community members to be proud of House Three Thirty.
“We want people to walk by and be proud, come in and be proud, just like LeBron,” Campbell said. “He worked in Miami, he works in Los Angeles now, but he never, ever forgot where he came from. He got involved when we started this program 11 years ago with the school I Promise. He was committed to moving forward and he delivered on his promises. People who don’t know him beyond the basketball court – and obviously he’s an amazing basketball player – but I really believe , and the foundation believes, that his legacy will be what he does here.
Like the I Promise School, LJFF wants visitors to House Three Thirty to feel like they’re somewhere special, right from the start.
“When you pull up on the street, you feel like you’re in this Las Vegas resort, with all these neon signs up and down representing the brands that are helping us bring this to life,” Campbell said.
The east entrance to the building will feature a canopy to create the impression of a grand entrance. The entry will also feature bike components as a nod to LJFF’s humble beginnings as a bikeathon event.
JPMorgan Chase Community Space
Just inside House Three Thirty will be the JPMorgan Chase Community Space, a place where bankers share financial advice and products to promote financial health.
“As a Community Manager, my job here is really about listening, nurturing relationships here in the Akron community, and improving the financial health of our families,” said the Vice President of Community Manager. of Chase, Dominic Wright. “Having this 17-year relationship (with LJFF) is absolutely amazing, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration to improve the financial health of our families.”
The house’s community model cafe will serve as a gathering place for community members. The space will include a secret conference room tucked behind one of the cafe’s shelves, Campbell said.
LeBron James Sports Bar
The former Fountain Room will house a large sports bar with approximately 100 televisions. The bar will tell the story of James’ basketball career from childhood through to the NBA.
The dining room
Next to the cafe is a family room that will serve as a place for gathering and discussion. The space has a fireplace and a secret pizza room reminiscent of “grandma’s Italian cooking in Italy,” Campbell said.
“When the pizza light comes on, it means we’ll have pizza and we’ll serve pizza until it’s gone,” she said.
Taco Shop by Old El Paso
Next to the family room is a small taco shop sponsored by Old El Paso. The store will serve fast and casual dining options, but it will also serve as a training space for people who want to hone their cooking or serving skills.
“If we have people who have never served before and they are learning to be waiters, you can practice this craft here in a very small and intimate environment before going to a 500 person wedding or a large bar sporty,” Campbell said.
House Three Thirty’s Sweet Shop features community favorites including Metropolis Popcorn, Norka Beverage, Mitchell’s Ice Cream and Malley’s Chocolates.
JM Smucker’s birthplace hall
The former ballroom will transform into JM Smucker Hometown Hall, a large event space that will be available to rent for private gatherings and community events.
“We were very excited to partner with LJFF 10 years ago when this was all being formulated,” said Tamara Fynan, executive director of community engagement and philanthropy, JM Smucker. “One of the first experiences we had with the I Promise program was going to a family dinner and seeing it, once a month, bring families together and how that helped strengthen important parts of the program, but yet just the joy and connectedness of having that happen over a meal.For us as a food company, we’re so impressed with how the I Promise program comes to life from this way as an element, we had to jump with both feet.
Block of employees
Tangier’s former backroom will be redesigned into a block that will provide everything House Three Thirty employees might need when transitioning from school to work on any given day. The space will include a hair salon, beauty salon, braiding station, play and homework areas, lockers, laundry facilities and amenities such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and even perfume, a said Campbell.
“It’s a place that will have everything you need to be the best you can be for the job,” she said.
House Three Thirty’s kitchen will include a chef’s kitchen, a chef’s table for tastings and private dining, and kitchen storage. The state-of-the-art kitchen will feature new technology and serve the sports bar, catering, confectionery and household employee block, Campbell said. The space will also have a teaching kitchen that will offer community classes.
LeBron James Museum
The museum’s sponsor, Upper Deck Sports, is working with the LJFF to select exhibits for the LeBron James Museum, which will be located in the basement of the building. The interactive museum features sets such as James’ childhood home, the high school locker room, and the LeBron James Arena with his original high school hoop.
“We have so much LeBron stuff that people would kill to see. All the shoes he wore in practice, his jerseys from high school, some things from his childhood (trophies),” Campbell said.
Another section of the museum will chronicle James’ business and entertainment activities, such as his work in “Space Jam: A New Legacy.”
The museum will charge an admission fee, according to Campbell.
Wine cabinet by mDesign
The Wine Room at House Three Thirty is sponsored by mDesign and will serve as a space for family meals, wine tastings and other small events.
Den by Mainstreet Advisors & Lobos 1707
The house den will feature a separate entrance on Market Street. The space will have a cigar bar vibe and feature dark wood paneling, Campbell said. The space can be rented for small private events, parties and special occasions.
Unlike other venues at House Three Thirty, the Cabaret will retain its original Tangier look as a tribute to the George family and community members, Campbell said.
Planned upgrades to the space include a new carpet, a stage lift and the addition of a private box for dinner parties. LJFF plans to bring acts back to the space, which will also serve as an event location for I Promise School functions.
LJFF plans to open House Three Thirty in January 2023. The only part of the house that won’t open at that time is the LeBron James Sports Bar. A grand opening space event will be announced in the coming months.
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