Historic tax credits to help redevelop downtown building

Wittenberg Fieldhouse, Eaton High School also get credits for rehab.

Development projects in Dayton, Springfield and Eaton on Wednesday won Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits worth millions of dollars, incentives that are key to financing.

In Dayton, building owner John Riazzi was awarded a tax credit of $687,500 for a $3.7 million project to redevelop an old Dayton Power and Light steam plant at 617 E. Third St. near downtown. The building had been owned by the city, which earlier this year tore down a portion of the building to make redevelopment easier.

The Dayton Power and Light building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been vacant in Dayton’s Webster Station area for nearly 20 years. Earlier attempts to redevelop the building failed.

The building will be rehabilitated as office and event spaces, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency. Riazzi Asset Management, a wealth management company now located in Oakwood, and MODA4 Design have committed to occupy the office space.

Amy Walbridge, the city of Dayton’s Special Projects Administrator, said Riazzi wants to start the project in early 2016. “It’s another piece in the puzzle for downtown revitalization,” she said.

Riazzi said the financing is in place for the project. He estimated the building will be home to about 25 workers within five years or so. The rehab should finish by the fall of 2016.

In Eaton, a project to create many uses for the former Eaton High School, 307 N. Cherry St., was awarded a $2 million tax credit. That project will cost $12.3 million.

The building was constructed in 1926 and served students until 2004. A partnership between Miller Valentine Group and the H.I.T. Foundation will make the building home to affordable senior housing, a community-use location in the former gymnasium and auditorium, and space for Sinclair Community College programming. The tax credit allocation replaces a previous award that was approved for the project.

In Springfield, Wittenberg University received a tax credit of $4.5 million for a $45.4 million project to rehab the Wittenberg Fieldhouse.

The Gothic-style fieldhouse opened in 1929. The project will incorporate additional classrooms and locker rooms, as well as a 134,160-square foot addition for indoor practice space. The project is eligible for an additional tax credit allocation, up to the requested $5 million as it becomes available, the Ohio Development Services Agency said.

In all, the agency awarded $37.8 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits to 34 applicants planning to rehabilitate 55 historic buildings.

The projects are expected to leverage approximately $285.3 million in private investments in 13 communities, the agency said.

“This is public-private money coming together,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “Saving historic buildings strengthens Ohio’s communities, which attracts businesses and visitors to the state.”

The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program is administered in partnership with the Ohio History Connection’s State Historic Preservation Office.

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