Fire Blocks developer’s hot streak continues with tax credit win

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The Price Stores and Journal Herald buildings have been awarded more than $1.1 million in state historic tax credits for rehab projects.

The group redeveloping the Fire Blocks District has won state historic tax credits for the third year in a row to once again help rehab some renowned downtown Dayton properties.

Columbus-based Windsor Companies plans to spend more than $11.9 million rehabilitating the adjoined Price Stores and former Journal Herald buildings near the intersection of South Jefferson and East Fourth streets.

Windsor Companies plans to convert the buildings into about 35 new apartment units and first-floor commercial spaces, which will complement existing retail and housing in the nearby and rapidly growing Fire Blocks District.

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The Price Stores building at the intersection of South Jefferson and East Fourth streets in downtown Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The Price Stores building at the intersection of South Jefferson and East Fourth streets in downtown Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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The Price Stores building at the intersection of South Jefferson and East Fourth streets in downtown Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

This will be the Windsor Companies’ fifth state historic tax credit project in Dayton ― which is more than any other local developer, according to the state.

“We have tailored our acquisition process to include identifying projects that meet the qualifications and using an internal scoring model to vet them,” said David Neal, chief operating officer with Windsor Companies. “It has become a science for us and we love the challenge that comes with historic preservation.”

A project to rehab an old grocery warehouse in Xenia and another to rehab two downtown buildings in Springfield each also won more than $1 million in incentives.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded more than $35.8 million in state historic tax credits to help rehab 51 historic buildings across the state.

The state awarded $1.18 million in tax incentives to the Journal Herald building at 111 to 119 E. Fourth St. and the Price Stores building at 48 to 52 S. Jefferson St. (also known as the Home Telephone building).

The Journal Herald building, originally built for the Herald Publishing Co., operated more recently as Hammerjax night club, but has been empty since 2016.

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The state awarded more than $1.1 million in state historic preservation tax credits to the Price Stores and Journal Herald buildings. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The state awarded more than $1.1 million in state historic preservation tax credits to the Price Stores and Journal Herald buildings. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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The state awarded more than $1.1 million in state historic preservation tax credits to the Price Stores and Journal Herald buildings. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Windsor Companies plans to build 15-market rate apartments on the upper floors of the four-story building.

The Price Stores building was constructed in 1902 for a telephone exchange, but it was sold and turned into a men’s clothing store in the 1950s.

Windsor plans to create 20 market-rate apartments in the upper levels of the Price Store building.

Windsor said market studies continue to indicate strong demand for housing in the downtown area, and potential tenants could include young professionals who work in the urban core, baby boomers and Sinclair Community College students.

Windsor said it plans to build out amenity spaces including the basement floors and first-floor lobbies.

The company’s application for tax credits says rehab work should begin in the third quarter of 2021 and residential units and commercial spaces should come online in late 2022.

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The Journal Herald building on the 100 block of East Fourth Street. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The Journal Herald building on the 100 block of East Fourth Street. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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The Journal Herald building on the 100 block of East Fourth Street. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The buildings are just south of the Fire Blocks District, which is an area centered around the 100 block of East Third Street that has been transformed by Windsor Companies’ projects and investments.

Windsor Companies currently has 113 housing units in downtown spread across the Huffman and Elks buildings in the Fire Blocks District and the Graphic Arts Lofts building on South Ludlow, said Neal.

About 111 of the units are occupied and most were preleased during the final stages of construction, he said.

The Fire Blocks also is home to some new or established restaurants, bars and shops like Salt Block Biscuit Co., Jollity, Third Perk Coffeehouse & Wine Bar and the Century Bar.

Neal said Windsor has 10 adaptive-reuse projects in the downtown area.

The state awarded more than $3.8 million in state historic tax credits to the Grant Deneau Tower in the summer of 2020.

Windsor proposes converting the 22-story empty office tower into office spaces and about 100 apartments.

Windsor also used state historic tax credits to rehab the Dayton Power and Light building (the new home of the Century Bar) and the Graphic Arts building (new apartments).

Two other projects in the region also won tax credit awards.

A developer proposes spending more than $4.5 million to renovate a grocery warehouse at 17 W. Third St. in Xenia.

The Eavey Exchange building has been vacant for decades, but with the help of $1.1 million in tax credits it will be converted into office spaces that have large open floor plans. The building is located along a former rail line that has been converted into a recreational trail, and users will have convenient trail access.

Another developer proposes spending more than $6.6 million to transform two adjacent buildings in Springfield.

A $1.25 million tax credit award will assist with turning the Lagonda National Bank building and the building next door on East Main Street into new commercial spaces on the ground floor and offices upstairs.

Two Dayton projects that applied for tax credits did not prevail: The owner of the Reed Steffan building and a group that wants to redevelop Longfellow School.

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