Vacant Dayton industrial site set for reuse in master plan

The vacant Dayton industrial building that caught fire Sunday is still on target for redevelopment as part of a master plan to create more residential and commercial space in the Wayne Avenue corridor.

The building, made mostly of concrete, is just too tough to damage significantly, said City Properties Group, the firm based in Louisville, Ky. developing the master plan. The group is meeting with city representatives this week to try to finalize the plan, said Bill Weyland, Managing Director at the firm.

The five-story building is located at 101 Bainbridge St. At one time, it was a key part of Dayton’s auto manufacturing industry. It’s in the city’s Motor Car Company Historic District. Investigators suspect it caught fire when homeless squatters were trying to cook food. But the building is a solid structure and doing real damage would be difficult, Weyland said.

The master plan from the firm is two-fold - creating an expanded business campus for machine-tool distributor Gosiger Inc., and developing a nearby vacant commercial property at 210 Wayne Ave., the old Weustoff and Getz Co. complex, also known as the Hughes Supply Building, which includes a large parking lot.

The building operated as Dayton Plumbing Supply Inc. for many years before it was vacated. The city owns the property and City Properties has a long-term lease.

The Wayne Avenue project, with a pricetag of $8 million, has $1.9 million in state tax credits to create about 40 apartment units and commercial space on the ground floor. Construction could begin on the Weustoff and Getz Co. property this year.

The next steps are part of a series of moves in the area that gained momentum in March when the city of Dayton authorized transferring a six-story industrial building at 15 McDonough St. to an LLC linked to Gosiger. The Dayton-based manufacturing company has more than $300 million in annual sales. Gosiger uses the building for storage but other potential reuses include housing.

The city also owns 101 Bainbridge after purchasing it for less than $100,000 in November 2013. But the city has prepared legislation authorizing the building’s transfer to Gosiger at some point, said Amy Walbridge of the city’s Office of Economic Development. The transfer would be a similar transaction as 15 McDonough St.

The Bainbridge structure has property behind it owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad. The city has been attempting to come to agreement with the railroad on that property, Walbridge said.

A small park, Garden Station, with environmental exhibits, gardens and art installations has been created by local residents on the lot next door to 101 Bainbridge. They’re hopeful the park will be preserved in the redevelopment effort.

Weyland said the goal of the master plan is to expand Gosiger’s footprint in the area and to help build a dynamic entertainment and residential district that connects to the Oregon District.

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