Port Authority to issue $6.3M in bonds for tornado-damaged Dayton-Phoenix rebuilding

A rebuilt Dayton Phoenix Group plant at 1619 Kuntz Road. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
A rebuilt Dayton Phoenix Group plant at 1619 Kuntz Road. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority will participate in the rebuilding of the Dayton Phoenix Group plant, a manufacturer that has been rebuilding since the Memorial Day tornadoes two years ago.

Port Authority trustees voted unanimously Monday to have its Southwest Ohio Regional Bond fund issue about $6.85 million in taxable Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) bonds for the company’s reconstructed plant and offices at 1619 Kuntz Road in North Dayton.

ExploreFrom 2019: Dayton Phoenix Group vows to ‘rise from ashes’

A late shift of about 13 workers were working at the plant when a tornado ripped through the area about 11 p.m. May 27, 2019, all but destroying the plant and many other businesses and homes.

Workers at the time were able to retreat to a fortified safe area and ride the storm out, and in the immediate aftermath, company leaders vowed to keep all 300 of their employees while temporarily moving operations to a former Delphi plant on Northwoods Boulevard in Vandalia. The company makes components for locomotives and heavy trucks.

In this 2019 photo, from the left: Tim Knueve, vice president of industrial at Shook Construction Co., and Larry “Moe” Mileski, Shook superintendent, say that in their decades of experience, they have never faced a job as big or complex as the rebuilding of Dayton Phoenix Group’s Kuntz Road plant. Rebuilding a devastated 640,000-square-foot plant is more complicated than building anew, Mileski said. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
In this 2019 photo, from the left: Tim Knueve, vice president of industrial at Shook Construction Co., and Larry “Moe” Mileski, Shook superintendent, say that in their decades of experience, they have never faced a job as big or complex as the rebuilding of Dayton Phoenix Group’s Kuntz Road plant. Rebuilding a devastated 640,000-square-foot plant is more complicated than building anew, Mileski said. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

Mike DiPerna, a financial adviser to the trustees, said the rebuilding itself is valued at some $63 million, with the demolition of the earlier structure and other expenses adding to the overall cost of the project.

“This is a great Dayton story,” said Joseph Geraghty, executive director of the Port Authority.

“This is a great illustration of a cloud with a silver lining,” added Jerry Brunswick, an adviser to the Port Authority.

In a PACE project, the cost of new energy equipment can be repaid for up to 20 years via an assessment added to a property’s tax bill.

In this project, once the PACE bonds are closed, the bond proceeds will be available to be drawn for reimbursement of eligible expenses.

Specifically, this financing over a 15-year term will go toward new LED lighting, lighting controls and improvements to the company’s heating, air conditioning and ventilation system.

PACE is a tool the Port Authority has offered Dayton property owners in the past, including the cluster of Front Street buildings in 2017 and for the Beth Abraham Synagogue in Oakwood.