Dayton leaders want to attract ‘headquarter hotel’ near convention center

The executive director and CEO of the Montgomery County Convention Facilities Authority says work is underway to try to bring a new national brand “headquarters” hotel to a property near the Dayton Convention Center that could be a $60 million to $80 million investment.

Pam Plageman, head of the convention facilities authority, said a new full-service hotel is needed to support the downtown business community and help Dayton and the Dayton Convention Center compete for events, meetings and conferences.

The 0.4-acre property identified as a prime location for the new hotel is a city-owned plaza located on the east side of South Jefferson Street, south of East Fifth Street, across the street from the convention center.

The plaza space, located next to the Oregon District parking garage, is basically vacant though it has some trees, landscaping, planters and brick sections.

Plageman said the Montgomery County Convention Facilities Authority wants to find a reputable hotel developer to construct, operate and own a nationally branded and convention-quality hotel on the property.

“The headquarter hotel project aligns with regional economic development goals and will sustain Dayton’s economic momentum to ensure we will remain competitive and attractive to groups and meetings,” she said.

Industry surveys show that the overwhelming majority of convention and meeting planners want a nationally branded hotel right by their meeting or event venues, said Tony Peterman, a hotel consultant with HPD Advisors.

A study determined that the target property on South Jefferson Street is an appropriate size for a full-service hotel that could be around 12 stories and could have more than 200 rooms, according to Meyers+Associates.

The vision for the hotel includes a rooftop bar and a first floor restaurant space to help activate the corner and streetscape at Fifth and Jefferson streets, said Christopher Meyers, principal architect and owner of Meyers+Associates.

One benefit of that location is that it’s next to the massive Oregon District parking garage.

The hotel project likely would be a public-private partnership and there would be a funding gap between what the project costs and what the private sector can afford to invest, the hotel consultant said.

Convention facilities authority hopes the city of Dayton and Montgomery County will approve economic development agreements to provide funding to support the project and provide incentives to a developer.

Plageman said the convention facilities authority is asking the city to convey the plaza property, possibly through a ground lease. The authority also hopes the city and Montgomery County will contribute $1.5 million each toward the project, she said.

The convention facilities authority expects to invest $1.5 million into the project and plans to issue a request for qualifications to try to find a hotel developer.

Economic development agreements may be considered next week by the Dayton City Commission and the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

Multiple new hotels are under construction in downtown or are in the planning stages.

This includes the new 94-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel at the Dayton Arcade, the new 120-room Hotel Ardent on North Main Street and a proposed boutique hotel on Wayne Avenue that will redevelop a former parish hall and church, plus add a new building.

The Dayton Convention Center is connected by a skywalk to the former Dayton Crowne Plaza (Radisson Hotel) at 33 E. Fifth St. The hotel, which had more than 280 rooms, closed in 2022 and it’s unclear if a proposal to turn it into a Hard Rock hotel has made significant progress.

Plageman said the convention facilities authority offered to purchase the shuttered hotel but the owner was not interested in selling it. She said the authority has been working with the owner for more than two years on a strategy to reopen the property.

The owner still plans to create a new hotel, with a goal of eventually turning it into a REVERB by Hard Rock Hotel, she said.

The Dayton Convention Center is undergoing about $45 million renovations to refresh and modernize the facility. The convention center says it wants to attract conventions and other events that bring out-of-town visitors and tourists to the region.

Amanda Beyers, director of talent and policy with the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, said Dayton needs more high-quality, business-class hotel options.

New hotel additions, like the Hotel Ardent and the Hilton Garden Inn, will be helpful, but there will still be a strong need for hundreds of new hotel rooms downtown near the convention center, she said.

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