Open for business: Fire Blocks welcomes Ascend Innovations, hospital association

Employees at work at the new offices of Ascend Innovations and the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Employees at work at the new offices of Ascend Innovations and the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

A ribbon-cutting Friday morning at 124 E. Third St. served not only to celebrate a new home for Ascend Innovations and the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GDAHA) — it was a celebration of an ongoing renewal of downtown Dayton.

“This is kind of a first milestone that you’ll see many of,” said Alexius Dorsey, founder and chief executive of Columbus-based developer Windsor Cos. “Ascend and GDAHA are creating an eco-system that we all talk about.”

Ascend Innovation is a data shop that seeks to address unmet needs in health care and beyond. GDAHA is a trade association that represents more than 29 hospitals in Montgomery County and 10 surrounding counties. GDAHA is also one of the founding organizations of Ascend, with Premier Health, Kettering Health and Dayton Children’s Hospital.

“It’s exciting,” said Marty Larson, CEO and president of Ascend. “As we moved in a couple of months ago, just being able to get the space into the shape it’s in now. ...We wanted this to be a part of the community.”

From left: Marty Larson, chief executive of Ascend Innovations. Next to him is Sarah Hackenbracht, CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association. Together, they celebrated the opening of their new joint office at 124 E. Third St. Friday June 4. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
From left: Marty Larson, chief executive of Ascend Innovations. Next to him is Sarah Hackenbracht, CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association. Together, they celebrated the opening of their new joint office at 124 E. Third St. Friday June 4. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

Larson marveled at being able to walk from his 12,000-square-foot office on Third Street to the Oregon District, to Flying Pizza and to many other locations.

“We’re thrilled to be here,” said Sarah Hackenbracht, president and CEO of GDAHA

This new space is part of a sprawling, long-term redevelopment project in what is being called the “Fire Blocks District,” around East Third and Jefferson streets. Spearheaded by the Windsor Cos., the company has been able to bring new commerce to the area where previous developers had been frustrated.

THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

After years of disuse, buildings in the district have welcomed businesses like the Salt Block Biscuit Co. and Third Perk Coffee House and Wine Bar. Windsor is also finishing up work on new loft apartments in the Graphic Arts Building on South Ludlow Street.

GDAHA is moving more than 20 employees into the space. The association wanted its employees at “the heart of the action.”

“We wanted our employees to be where we would just be a short walk away from the energy of what’s happening in downtown Dayton,” Hackenbracht said.

The fourth-floor office was designed with spaces for hospitality and conferencing areas; individual workspaces; a café; and huddle rooms for small meetings of employees.