‘Killer views’: Stratacache CEO has plans for Dayton’s tallest building

Chris Riegel, chief executive of Stratacache, is in talks with a Dayton business about moving to his company’s namesake tower, taking up to 100,000 square feet of space there, about a fifth of downtown Dayton’s tallest tower.

Riegel declined to identify the company, but he said that’s one example of renewed interest in the former Kettering Tower, the flagship property he bought in late January for $13 million.

Riegel says the 405-foot Stratacache Tower will continue to draw more jobs, well beyond even his own company’s expected presence of 120-plus jobs.

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“If you have a focused owner who’s investing in the building, people want to be in that building,” Riegel said.

That increased tenant interest is also sparking ideas about a new parking garage, perhaps at Jefferson and Third streets.

A new 1,000-vehicle garage could prove to be an anchor for the area, benefiting not only Stratacache Tower, but Key Bank tower, CareSource, the nearby FireBlocks district and other downtown areas, Riegel believes.

While downtown Dayton has parking available, that parking is not necessarily where people want it, the CEO contends.

“What can we do to be a catalyst for additional development downtown?” he asked.

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In an interview Friday, Riegel also talked in detail about a plan to create an open-air restaurant atop the fifth floor of the tower’s low-rise section, a seasonal bar-and restaurant operation open from April through October.

It was a concept Riegel first touched on in February when he first publicly announced his purchase of the 50-year-old building.

“It has just killer views of Courthouse Square, the Schuster (Center),” the CEO of the digital signage company said of the space he has in mind. “There’s elevator access off the Chase (Bank) lobby.”

Glass walls would surround diners sitting in an open-air restaurant patio environment. Riegel said he has seen similar concepts work well in Vancouver and elsewhere.

“It becomes a place where after work people unwind,” he said. Diners could also visit before events at the Schuster across the street, he suggested.

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“Bar and restaurant options are growing downtown dramatically, but there’s not a lot going on right here,” Riegel said, referring to the core area around Second and Main streets. “In the city center, I think the expectation needs to be … more services, more options.”

He says Stratacache Tower is already in a cash-flow-positive position, as is the Courthouse Plaza building across from the Arcade which he also bought in December.

Asked if two hefty real estate purchases in two months — for a total of about $14.7 million — were forcing him to burn through capital, Riegel had a simple answer: Stratacache has 28 offices around the world, and Downtown Dayton is a bargain.

At $13 million, Stratacache Tower works out to a payment of about $26 a square foot, Riegel said. By contrast, he pays about $75 a square foot for office space in San Francisco and about $120 a square foot for space in Singapore.

”The operating costs in Dayton are so great, so advantageous to a business, I can’t bring jobs here fast enough,” he said.

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