$1.5B invested in downtown Dayton in last decade

Despite a raging global pandemic and a badly bruised economy, downtown Dayton saw a healthy dose of investment this year and 2021 is shaping up to be even better ― potentially even a banner year, officials say.

About $90 million was invested in the greater downtown area this year, as developers finished some new facilities and converted old commercial buildings into new apartments, offices and amenities, the Downtown Dayton Partnership said.

More than $245 million worth of projects are currently underway in the downtown area, and another $205 million in projects are in the design and early development phase.

“There has been quite a bit of construction underway ― cranes in the air ― and it’s been an exciting time from a development perspective,” said Scott Murphy, vice president of economic development with the Downtown Dayton Partnership. “For all us, 2020 was not a year we expected ... but certainly, there’s a sense of optimism as these projects move forward.”

In the last decade, there has been about $1.5 billion worth of private and public investment in the greater downtown area, and there are about $420 million worth of projects still in the pipeline, according to a report shared by the Downtown Dayton Partnership at its annual meeting on Tuesday.

Notable projects completed this year included the $18 million renovation of the Dayton Motor Car building at 15 McDonough St. and the roughly $20 million redevelopment of the Elks and Huffman Block buildings in the Fire Blocks District.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

The motor car building has been converted into new commercial and office space for Gosiger and other potential tenants.

The Elks and Huffman block buildings on the 100 block of East Third Street have been transformed into about 92 apartments on the upper floors and first-floor commercial space.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

A new $3.5 million mixed-use building was constructed at Monument Avenue and Webster Street in the rapidly-growing Water Street District.

Premier Health and Encompass Health teamed up to construct a $24 million rehabilitation hospital near Miami Valley Hospital on South Main Street.

And Sinclair College completed about $4.5 million worth of improvements to its campus and corridors.

An office building at 130 W. Second St. underwent about $1.4 million worth of renovations and other work, said owner Brian Lash.

Downtown housing has remained very hot, even though new units continually are being added.

Since 2010, there has been a 77% increase in market-rate housing in the city’s core, according to the Downtown Dayton Partnership.

Despite the explosive growth in inventory, downtown’s occupancy rate is still about 94% to 95%, said Murphy, with the partnership.

All of the 92 new market-rate apartments that downtown welcomed this year came from the Fire Blocks District.

Windsor Companies, a Columbus-based developer, is working to redevelop multiple buildings in the district, as well as some other downtown commercial properties.

New tenants should open in first floor spaces in the Huffman building in early 2021, and a couple of tenants have signed letters of intent, meaning the building only has 4,000 square feet of commercial space left available, said David Neal, Windsor’s chief operating officer.

Windsor Companies is far from finished investing downtown. The company also is rehabbing the Graphic Arts building at 221 S. Ludlow St., near the Sinclair College campus. Neal said construction began in March, and the building will be turned into 20 new loft apartments and 4,500-square-feet of commercial space.

Windsor Companies also is renovating the Price Stores building on South Jefferson Street and the Grant Deneau Tower on West Fourth Street into a mix of uses.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Last year, downtown gained about 112 new market-rate apartments at the Centerfield Flats, located on the eastern end of Day Air Ballpark, formerly Fifth Third Field.

The developers, Woodard Development and Crawford Hoying, also have started construction on The Monument, a 124-unit apartment building planned for the old Wright State University Kettering Center at 140 E. Monument Ave.

The new apartment building, located across from RiverScape MetroPark, is expected to be completed in the spring of 2022, said Brent Crawford, principal of Crawford Hoying.

Another major housing project that is expected to open in 2022 is The 503, located at the corner of Wayne Avenue and East Fourth Street in the Oregon East area.

Kentucky developer Weyland Ventures plans to construct about 153 apartments, which are directly across the street from the Wheelhouse, its first mixed-use development project in Dayton.

The Downtown Dayton Partnership says that there are about 308 new apartments in the pipeline that are expected to open in 2021 and 2022.

Downtown is now home to more than 1,800 market-rate housing units, and the tally is expected to rise to about 2,115 units by the end of 2022, according to the partnership.

The Dayton Arcade, one of the largest and most closely watched projects in the region, also is making progress. The arcade is one of the main reasons 2021 could be a huge year for new investment in the center city.

The $96 million renovation of the complex’s southern arcade buildings will create about 120 units of affordable and market-rate housing, as well as a new innovation center and spaces for arts and public events and new retail, restaurants and other commercial uses.

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