It’s the words some people have waited nearly three decades to hear: The Dayton Arcade is going to reopen.
The project is not in doubt, says Cross Street Partners, the project’s lead developer: It’s definitely happening.
Though previous proposals to revitalize the arcade fizzled out, Cross Street Partners has never had a project progress to this point and not finish, said Bill Struever, principal of Cross Street Partners.
“We’re way too pregnant,” said Struever.
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Last week, this newspaper broke the news that Miller-Valentine Group, one of the largest commercial real estate developers in the region, has pulled out of a project to create new housing in the Dayton Arcade, electing to take a back seat from efforts to revitalize the famed complex.
But two big players in urban redevelopment — Cincinnati-based Model Group and St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar — have signed on as partners on the arcade, and Struever says they are better suited for the work.
Model Group and McCormack Baron Salazar are “powerhouses” in tax credit investments and new market or historic reuse projects that have large extensive experience completing large and complicated projects, he said.
There are always things that could still go wrong with the arcade project, Struever said: Like any project, tenants can pull out, leasing can hit a snag and construction can face delays.
But the arcade is headed toward a closing on financing in July, with construction beginning soon after, he said.
“Things changed with Miller-Valentine — that’s unfortunate — but we roll with it and we have a terrific team,” Struever said.
Miller-Valentine Group has withdrawn from the housing component of the Dayton arcade. The company said it will be involved in the leasing of the commercial component and continues to work with Cross Street on multiple capital raising initiatives.
The departure has not signficantly impacted the project, except the partners’ plans now include expanding the arts component of the arcade and modifying the mix of units on the residential side, officials said.
Some amenity space in the basement of the Fourth Street building will be turned into artists’ studio space.
Model Group had a lead role in transforming the Over-the-Rhine (OTR) neighborhood in Cincinnati from a riot-damaged wasteland, featuring vacant and crumbling buildings, into one of the hottest destinations in the Queen City.
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In the 2000s, the company helped clean-up the neighborhood, which struggled with blight and crime, by restoring 73 historic buildings and creating 383 units of affordable, “high-quality” housing.
Since 2006, more than 175 new businesses have opened in the neighborhood.
Model Group’s investment in Over-the-Rhine alone is north of $200 million. The firm has completed more than $500 million in development in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
The Model Group has been one of the most active historic tax credit developers and general contractors in the state the last 15 years, said Bobby Maly, principal of the firm.
The project, which opened in the 1990s, turned the downtown YMCA tower into about 59 apartments as well as townhouses and apartments between West Monument and the Great Miami River. There are 233 apartments in total.
McCormack Baron Salazar has developed 195 projects in 46 cities in 26 states and U.S. Territories, including 21,290 housing units and 1.2 million square feet of commercial space, with development costs of $3.9 billion.
The company has completed 9 projects in Ohio, resulting in 928 apartment homes, investing $165 million.