Former Skyway plaza across from Wright-Patterson a priority for Fairborn redevelopment

Credit: Mark Fisher

Credit: Mark Fisher

Fairborn is focusing on redeveloping the site of a former shopping center on Ohio 444, a priority site for the city that’s across from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Fairborn is seeking Greene County grant funds as part of the initial steps preparing the Kauffman Avenue land occupied by the Skyway Plaza before it was demolished in recent years.

The money Fairborn is seeking is “not related to any particular project,” City Manager Mike Gebhart said, noting the city wants to “be proactive” in preparing the site.

The city envisions future development as “mixed use” and possibly market-rate apartments, Gebhart said.

“It’s proximity to Gate 12A is interesting for the base,” he said. “We’re not sold in any particular direction on what it would be, other than it would be compatible with Wright-Patterson as well as the neighborhood that abuts it to the east.”

Fairborn council members said they are pleased the city is moving forward with the environmental study.

“I think out of all of the open properties I probably get asked about this one more than any of them,” Clint Allen said. “It’s a key capture. It’s fertile ground for us to bring in a good business.”

Fairborn wants $60,000 from the county for environmental work for utilities planning, preliminary geotechnical testing, land surveying and civic engineering, Economic Development Director Cherise Schell told city council.

Fairborn’s economic development strategic plan includes the land as “a priority site and an immediate opportunity to create a catalytic economic development project and innovation district,” Schell said.

County records show its municipal grant program has about $500,000 strategic economic development projects that include road extensions, due-diligence studies, utility extensions, speculative construction, and municipal fiber.

The environmental study, which is estimated to cost $70,000, would “position the site for future funding opportunities through the state or other entities,” Schell said.

Similar studies commonly take 60 to 120 days to complete, Gebhart said.

Skyway had about 250,000 square feet on about 20 acres for retail business, Dayton Daily News records show.

Elder-Beerman was an anchor before it shut down its store more than a decade ago and opened one at The Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek, Gebhart said.

An Eaveys Grocery store was also in the plaza, he added. The city condemned the Elder-Beerman site and demolished it before buying more than 5 acres in 2016.

About the Author