Updated: 11:47 p.m. Thursday, April 10, 2014 | Posted: 5:58 p.m. Thursday, April 10, 2014

Commentary: Smart Mouth

7 reasons to pump money into fairground sites development

Development could “strengthen the city’s somewhat pudgy core”


7 reasons to pump money into fairground sites development photo
View of the Montgomery County Fairgrounds looking north from the Cox Media Group building. The relocation of the Montgomery County Fairgrounds could change the complexion of downtown Dayton.Redevelopment of the fairgrounds site could create a “southern gateway.” TY GREENLEES / STAFF
7 reasons to pump money into fairground sites development photo
Dayton Daily News blogger Amelia Robinson
7 reasons to pump money into fairground sites development photo
Archive photo — Realtor Denise Swick gives a tour of the Sixth Street Lofts, an estimated $3 million condo project located in downtown Dayton’s Oregon District. Windows flank two walls of this unit allowing a view of downtown Dayton. LISA POWELL / STAFF
7 reasons to pump money into fairground sites development photo
Exterior photo of Miami Valley Hospital

By Amelia Robinson

Staff Writer

If things go as planned, The Montgomery County Fairgrounds, a Main Street mainstay since it was founded in 1858, would be relocated to Brookville and the land it sits on now would help strengthen the city’s somewhat pudgy core.

Officials are calling the potential development of the 38-acre site near the University of Dayton and the Miami Valley Hospital the opportunity the community has waited for 100 years.

Miller Valentine Group, the site’s would-be developer, says it would take 18 million bucks from investors to turn the site in to what is being called Midtown District.

As my colleagues Kelli Wynn and Cornelius Frolik reported earlier this week, Miller Valentine’s initial plans call for medical offices, an apartment complex, restaurants, retailers, a specialty grocery store and a movie theater.

It is obvious why county and city officials want this to work, but why would anyone invest near the city’s core?

Here are seven reasons the area should be attractive to investors:


More than 42,000 people work in the greater downtown area and more than 7 million people visit its attraction annually, according to the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan.

The document estimates that 20,000 people live in the historic neighborhood surrounding downtown Dayton and the UD area.

More specifically, a City of Dayton report based on the 2010 U.S. Census says 4,102 people lived in downtown Dayton and Webster Station, Midtown and Oregon District — the three neighborhood adjacent to downtown.

The figure marked an increase of 718 since the 2000 census.

Read: More living downtown as revitalization efforts pay off

More people

And then there are all the people who work at or otherwise use Miami Valley Hospital and UD.

Miami Valley, the largest hospital in the region, is “served by 5,800 employees and 1,100 physicians in 50 primary and specialty medical practice areas,” according to the hospital’s website.

UD spokeswoman Cilla Shindell said UD employs 2,300 and educates nearly 11,000 graduate and undergraduate students.

Kumbaya for profit

Officials have expressed hopes that the development would create a “southern gateway” to the central business district that would more effectively integrate the UD and the Miami Valley Hospital campus into the center city.

This gateway could mean big business.

The development could potentially draw dollars from people before they join the mass exodus of workers to the burbs when quiting time rolls around at 5 p.m.

Symbiotic relationship

The fairground site is located near four established shopping, dining and/or entertainment destinations — downtown Dayton, Oakwood, Brown Street and the Oregon District — that could complement it by providing unique nearby experiences at amenities like Fifth Third Field, RiverScape MetroPark and the Shuster Center.

Centrally located blank canvas

The site is not only near the core, but it is accessible from the region’s highways. In other words, you can get here from there in a few minutes no matter where “there” in the region you are. It is unspoiled land in a prime location ready for out of the box thinking. Add to that the fact that officials want it developed and this could be a winning proposition.

Housing in demand

If anything is abundantly clear it's that people want to live in and near downtown Dayton.

Read: 5 signs Dayton is alive & kicking, far from the grave

Sandy Gudorf, the president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, a nonprofit group that promotes the city’s core, said the most recent data showed that downtown apartment units were 97.5 percent occupied. Condos were 97 percent full.

Figures for 2013 are not yet available, but Gudorf said indications are that stats will be about the same as they were for 2012.

The $18 million student housing complex planned at the former site of the Dayton Daily News headquarters on Ludlow Street is among the housing projects in work for downtown Dayton.

Gudorf said the complex is expected to be finished by fall of 2015.

Downtown residential developer Charles Simms’ 31-unit follow up to his successful Patterson Square development and Lux Lofts, a 110-unit renovation of the David Building at 115 E. Third St., continue to move forward.

Gudorf said the Water Street development recently increased to 200 planned units from 150. The apartment units will have river, city and stadium views.

People want it

The mention of a 'grocery store' is enough to drive anyone who lives or works near or in downtown into a frenzy.

Bring up retail shopping and heads might pop off.

Contact this columnist at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com or Twitter.com/DDNSmartMouth



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