Developer’s $25M plan to fill Riverside site part of $100M vision for Dayton area



An estimated $25 million commercial development — possibly including retail, office and apartments — is being planned for a 12-acre former outdoor sports facility unused in Riverside since 2015.

The project aims to transform the dormant former home of Smiley’s Golf and Baseball Center as part of plans to invest $100 million in the Dayton area in the next five years, including similar land uses in downtown Dayton, according to a project manager.

Potential downtown Dayton sites for developer Genesis Real Estate USA Inc. were not identified and the amount of its investment in properties other than the Riverside location “that fall under that $100 million umbrella are still under negotiation,” a company spokeswoman told the Dayton Daily News Thursday.

Credit: STAFF

Credit: STAFF

Dayton Planning and Land Use Manager Tony Kroeger said he is not familiar with the Genesis plans for downtown.

Genesis chose those two cities “after extensive research and consulting with people from both areas” and the developer “strongly believes in the development potential,” Nikki Wildman, associate principal and project manager at DesignGroup, said in an email.

DesignGroup of Columbus is the architect of the Riverside project, she said.

The Riverside project at 4740 Linden Ave. — between the Beavercreek and Dayton corporation lines — would create about 50 to 100 jobs upon completion, Wildman said.

Any residential units “would include a mix of unit types to appeal to (the) Riverside and Beavercreek communities,” she said.

“The intent of the development is to enhance the neighborhood with new amenities and provide infrastructure improvements in stormwater and sanitary sewer management to benefit” the area near the site, Wildman said.

Formal plans have yet to be submitted, developers and city officials said. A “rough timeline” includes a rezoning request in the first quarter of 2023, a six-month design process and construction lasting about two years, Wildman said.

The Linden land is now zoned for general business, according to Nía Holt, Riverside zoning administrator.

Riverside has been in contact with DesignGroup the past few months about potential uses for the Linden land, along zoning and utility prospects, City Manager Josh Rauch said.

“The city is pleased that Genesis sees Riverside as a prime location for this kind of investment,” Rauch said.

“For us, it’s just encouraging,” he said. “There’s been quite a bit of work going on in the Woodman (area) and now in the Linden corridor. Any time we get an inquiry on properties — wherever they’re at in the city — I think it just re-enforces to us that people see Riverside as a viable place to invest.”

The Linden site has drawn some interest since it was sold at auction seven years ago before Smiley’s closed, but “there hasn’t been a whole lot of traction at that property,” he said.

The land has “some challenges,” typography and utilities among them, Rauch said.

Improvements in stormwater and sanitary sewer management would benefit Linden, as well as neighboring residential areas that include Golf Street, Leising Road, Roseview Street and Spaulding Road, Wildman said.

The proposed development is the focus of a neighborhood meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday at the First Baptist Church of Kettering, 1380 Spaulding Road.

The meeting aims to get feedback from nearby residents, Wildman said. A firmer project timeline may result after the meeting, she added.

Rauch said “we’re also very encouraged by their willingness to engage the neighborhood regarding new amenities and infrastructure improvements. The city stands ready to work with Genesis and the neighborhood should a viable plan for development emerge.”

The Linden site was the home of Smiley’s from 1947 until 2015, featuring a driving range, miniature golf course and baseball batting center.

It was bought at auction by Sarasota, Fla.’s Albert Schneider, who had real estate ties to the Dayton area, the Dayton Daily News reported at that time. The sale price in August 2015 was $116,000, Montgomery County records show.

Schneider said then he had a “preliminary vision” for the site to be used for either for commercial or residential development.

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