The group that owns most of the 100 block of East Third Street has big plans for the area. As in $70 million to $100 million big.
Progress to redevelop buildings in the Fire Blocks District, as the area is now known, has gone more slowly than developers originally proposed, and new housing, restaurants and retail have yet to open.
But the development firm Ellway Group says the district is going to be downtown’s amenity center, packed with with unique and high-quality places to live, work and play that justifies the wait.
Here’s a few things to know about plans for the district:
1. WHAT THEY OWN: The Ellway Group owns or controls 1 million square feet of space in the Fire Blocks District, which is the area bordered by Jefferson and St. Clair streets and Second and Fourth Streets. The group owns most of the 100 East Third Street block, as well as a few buildings on South Jefferson, including those housing Price Stores and the Century Bar. The group also recently purchased two buildings near the Cannery Lofts, also along East Third Street.
2. THE VISION: The Ellway Group’s plans for the Fire Blocks are grand and ambitious. They propose condos and a bike shop and coffee shop for the Kimmel Building (140 E. Third St.). They plan 68 apartments in the David Building (115 E. Third St.) and to fill 22,500 square feet of ground floor commercial space. The group plans 22 apartments in the Elks building (100 E. Third St.) and an upscale taco and tequila bar called El Sueño. The Price Stores building (52 S. Jefferson) is expected to become a boutique hotel while the DP&L building, just up the street, should be Airbnb housing. Renderings also show rooftop green spaces and new construction.
3. BETTING ON DOWNTOWN: The Ellway Group says its redevelopment plan has grown into a $70 million or more vision mainly because of what is going on downtown. The Water Street District has already created 215 apartments and about 187 more are being built or opening soon there, located just up the road. New townhomes have been built near the Fire Blocks and more are underway, all of which are close to the new, $64 million Dayton main library, which opens in August. Supporters are close to raising the $5 million needed to start construction on the Levitt Pavilion Dayton, a state-of-the-art amphitheater planned for a park near the southwest edge of the Fire Blocks. The Fire Blocks will connect the Central Business District, Webster Station, the Oregon Historic District and the Water Street District, developers say.
4. LIVE, WORK AND PLAY: The Ellway Group says the district when redeveloped will have about 500 jobs. They say there could be a dozen or more new food and drink establishments or concepts. They say the redevelopment projects should occur stages over a five- or seven-year period.
5. FINANCING IS KEY: Two of the buildings in the district have been awarded about $4.5 million in state historic tax credits to help finance their rehabilitation. The Ellway Group says it has $30 million to $35 million already committed for projects in the district.