Dayton builder and developer Miller-Valentine Group will still be involved in redeveloping the downtown Dayton Arcade, though the company has stepped away from work on the housing portion of the project, said Elizabeth Mangan, Miller Valentine chief executive.
In a wide-ranging interview Monday, Mangan — Miller-Valentine’s first woman CEO — expressed confidence about the direction of the overall Arcade project, which is being helmed by a Maryland developer, Cross Street Partners.
She also revealed that late last week, Miller-Valentine sold its affordable housing division to MVAH Partners, founded by former Miller-Valentine partners Brian McGeady and Michael Riechman, who had been running the affordable housing division.
She said the sale of the housing division was unrelated to the company’s withdrawal from Arcade housing work.
“It was all about facilitating a deeper focus on our core business and about facilitating growth for Miller-Valentine,” Mangan said.
“We’re a developer-contractor,” she added. “We are focused on partnering with local designers, impacting the local landscape with projects for our customers.”
The Arcade project will go on, and Miller-Valentine remains involved with other facets, including raising capital and working on commercial leasing.
Stepping away from the housing portion “was just a business decision,” Mangan said. Asked if the firm saw less potential in future housing at the Arcade, she said simply: “No.”
“The Arcade is a large, complex, multi-faceted, mixed-use project,” she said.
“We still see leasing activity,” said Dave Dickerson, Dayton market president for Miller-Valentine. “We’re still involved from a leasing standpoint. And so all the tenants we have brought to the project still remain engaged.”
Those tenants include brewer Warped Wing, Boston Stoker and the University of Dayton.
“There are a number of others we’re having conversations with,” Dickerson said.
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Mangan was trained as an attorney, but she has worked in the real estate and construction industry for about two decades, beginning in Washington, D.C., in the construction team of an international law firm.
She moved to Cincinnati in 2003, working with regional law firms and development companies. She joined Miller-Valentine when that company acquired a firm she was with in 2008.
“Since 2008, I’ve gone from being a kind of hybrid-developer lawyer to general counsel to executive committee to CEO,” she said.
Miller-Valentine has had customers in more than 20 states. In mid-December, the company announced a re-orientation of sorts, spinning off one division and selling another. The company spun off its commercial asset and property management businesses into a newly formed entity, Culmen Real Estate Services.
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Former Miller-Valentine Senior Partner Ed Blake now leads Culmen.
The 55-year-old company focuses on multi-family housing, medical office building, industrial and warehouse space, manufacturing facilities and other buildings. It also partners with developers on “mixed-used projects,” like the Arcade.
Some of its top clients include Pratt Industries, NuVasive in West Carrollton, Fuyao Glass America in Moraine and many others.
The business just completed a luxury apartment complex in Huber Heights, Water Stone at Carriage Trails. It is also building Waterford at Sugar Creek, another luxury project in Sugar Creek Twp. The company is also completing two medical facilities in those same communities.
Asked if Miller-Valentine would be interested in a role in developing the former Montgomery County Fairgrounds — historic property now controlled by UD and Premier Health — Dickerson said that depends on the owners’ vision for the site.
“Obviously UD and Premier have taken their time, thinking of what’s best for the community, and best for their investment,” he said. “I think as it evolves, as they roll out with a plan … my guess is they will reach out to multiple parties.”
In an earlier iteration of the fairgrounds project two years ago, Miller-Valentine was poised to be involved, before higher-than-expected cost estimates slowed work.