AKRON Ohio (WJW) – The LeBron James Foundation opened the doors to it’s newest major undertaking to the general public on Thursday– House 330.
House 330 is a complete transformation of the old Tangier into a space that provides entertainment facilities, snack shops, a coffee bar and eventually including a one-of-a-kind LeBron James museum.
The multi-use facility is built inside what was Akron’s iconic showplace and restaurant, the Tangier.
“We want people to see this beautiful space and what we have done here with the design and preserving what was here when it was the old Tangier and now the House 330, but the real secret sauce here is seeing our team members,” said Michele Campbell, the foundation’s executive director.
Campbell expects the site to eventually become a destination not only for residents of Akron vicinity but for visitors from throughout the country.
Inside, visitors will find an operating Starbucks coffee shop, the first community-owned shop of its kind in the country. On lower levels, they will find a wine bar and a lounge called the ‘Lobos Lounge.’
There are comfortable intimate settings to sit and relax and large settings like the ‘Hometown Hall’ that can host large events.
There is a taco shop, a sweets shop and eventually a sports bar.
The Starbucks is now operating, but Campbell explained that other sites inside House 330 will open as employees feel they are ready to open.
The philosophy involves providing jobs and job training for students and families of the foundation’s I-Promise program in areas from hospitality to food service, to entertainment and even finance.
Partners including J.P.Morgan Chase, The J.M. Smucker Company, and Mitchell’s Ice Cream are all in with the vision.
Employees will have space to gather and to help them become the best version of themselves near the completely updated and renovated kitchen.
That includes an employee lounge where they can sign up to have their hair done, a place for them to wash their uniforms and clothes and a room called the “happy happy” room where they will be able to find personal supplies to help them look and feel good as they work.
“In everything we do as a Foundation, it’s all about making our kids, parents, and people across the community believe there can be more in their lives than they ever dreamed possible,”LeBron James said. “We designed House Three Thirty to create opportunities and open doors to show them that anything is possible and that they can do it right here in Akron. We believe House Three Thirty will be a staple for our city, and we can’t wait for people to come and experience it.”
A unique LeBron James museum will eventually house many never before seen items of Lebron James’s life and career, from youth trophies to a re-construction of his high school locker room, a massive collection of shoes, a room that displays his achievements in the entertainment industry and another area that pays tribute to his work over the past 11 years in the Akron community.
While the building will be different than it was through generations that enjoyed visiting it as the Tangier, some items inside have been retained to help preserve those memories.
The photographs are gone, but the foundation has preserved the frames in a hallway that was once filled with pictures of famous visiting entertainers, explaining that for the people who come with old memories, those memories can help fill those frames while newcomers can picture new memories there.
The cabaret, with its Las Vegas-style atmosphere, has been preserved and upgraded, but it will retain almost exactly the atmosphere it held when some of the nation’s top entertainers would grace its stage.
It will eventually be used for new performers and for I-Promise School activities.
“It’s an amazing experience. It’s eye-opening for just the touch of the material through the friendliness of the voices and coming in here is just a whole new world,” said Lattasha Mccullough, an I-Promise mom who is working at House 330.
“I literally look at it every day like, ‘I am a part of something that is going to change our community totally and completely.’ I feel like it is a blessing, you know, in all honesty, not only for myself but for my community,” said Clara Debruce, another I-Promise mom and employee.
“The vision is family. The vision is community. The vision is focusing on a group of people who sometimes are not given the opportunities that they are deserved,” said Dominic Wright, an employee of J.P. Morgan Chase which operates a bank and offers financial counseling in House 330.
“If you look around, there are resources and the different companies that are involved here, it’s just going to do wonders for our community,” he said.
Current House Three Thirty Hours:
• Monday-Friday: 6 a.m. – 3 p.m.
• Saturday: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Current House Three Thirty Experience hours:
• Starbucks: 6 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Monday to Friday); 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Saturday)
• Chase Community Space: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Monday to Friday)
According to the Lebron James Foundation, LeBron James’ Home Court, Retail Shop & The Sweet Shop will open on June 2.