Spectacular views: Could Deeds Park be Dayton’s next housing hot spot?

Webster Station and the northeastern part of downtown Dayton are booming, but, so far, redevelopment activities have not spread north across the Mad River.

That could change sometime in the not-too-distant future because housing in the Water Street District is running out of room to expand eastward, and the new Webster Street bridge officially opens today. The bridge closed in early 2016, but the reopening again will make it easy to access the Deeds Park area.

The Water Street developers have a purchase option on the undeveloped land in the Deeds Park area, which for years has been targeted for redevelopment as housing and other uses.

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“I think it has real potential for redevelopment — it’s got some of the greatest views in the city,” said Shelley Dickstein, Dayton city manager.

The Deeds Park area, located at the convergence of the Mad and Miami rivers, contains a small MetroPark (Deed’s Point), empty lots, a baseball diamond and a dog park.

Deeds Point connects to the Water Street District and RiverScape via a pedestrian bridge. The Webster Street Bridge is the quickest way for motorists to get to the Deeds Park area from downtown and Webster Station.

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But the bridge closed on Jan. 11, 2016, and was demolished and replaced.

The Water Street developers, Woodard Development and Crawford Hoying, have a purchase option for the land across the river, which is primarily owned by the city of Dayton.

Dickstein told this newspaper that she was not certain if the developers would pull the trigger on the purchase.

But, she said, the area is ripe for redevelopment as housing or other uses because it has great views of downtown and is so close to the center city.

She said if Crawford Hoying and Woodard Development do not pursue the site, the city would seek another developer.

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“It certainly remains an opportunity for someone if Crawford Hoying / Woodard group doesn’t move forward,” she said.

The Water Street developers have other projects in the works, but the housing they’ve built along the riverfront cannot expand across Webster Street because the Tech Town property sits there and was not cleaned up for residential reuse, city officials said.

The area north and east of Deeds Park Drive also has been identified as a potential redevelopment site by an in-progress riverfront master plan that is under development, said Carrie Scarff, chief of planning and projects with Five Rivers MetroParks.

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In the last two decades, there have been multiple redevelopment proposals for Deeds Park.

In 2007, a subsidiary of Mandalay Baseball Properties of Los Angeles, which at the time owned the Dayton Dragons, proposed to build housing on the site.

Development guidelines at the time called for two tiers of apartments or condos, with an average minimum density of 10 housing units per acre.

The Water Street developers have built 215 apartments and townhouses along the banks of the Mad River and are building 54 more units. They also have opened the 133-unit Delco Lofts apartment building next to Fifth Third Field and are planning to build even more new residential units across from the ballpark.

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