The University of Dayton plans to build a new facility on South Main Street that will become the home of the Dayton Development Coalition, the Dayton Foundation and the college’s Fitz Center for Leadership in Community.
The new building at 1401 S. Main St. will be located between Emerson’s Helix Innovation Center and Universal 1 Credit Union. It will be 38,000 square feet and will include offices for each organization along with shared meeting spaces, according to UD.
Details for the project are still being worked out, but the university plans to start construction later this year. Once construction has begun, the new facility will take only a year to build, said UD provost Paul Benson. He declined to say how much UD will spend on the new building.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the community and for these organizations,” said UD president Eric Spina. “Each views the needs and opportunities of the Dayton community from very different perspectives, and each offers unique resources to aid community and economic development.”
Both the foundation and the development coalition have signed letters of intent to lease space in the new facility, according to UD. Both the Dayton Foundation and the Dayton Development Coalition are currently located downtown in Kettering Tower.
The new building will put the DDC within steps of General Electric’s $51 million EPIScenter, which opened in 2013, and Emerson’s $35 million Helix Innovation Center built in 2016.
“As we work to grow and recruit businesses to the Dayton region and State of Ohio, this new facility and the surrounding area will allow us to highlight some of our region’s best success stories,” said Jeff Hoagland, chief executive officer of the DDC. “We remain committed to Dayton’s urban core, and the DDC will remain in the greater downtown area.”
The Dayton Foundation works with local colleges, and the new building’s location will allow the organization to develop a deeper relationship with UD, said Michael Parks, president of the Dayton Foundation. Being right on campus, Parks said, will allow the foundation to “leverage the talents of the University’s faculty, staff and students more broadly on leadership initiatives and other community projects.”
UD’s Fitz Center for Leadership will also occupy part of the new building, a decision that was made to increase space and accessibility for the center, Benson said. The center’s programs include UD’s Rivers Institute, Semester of Service and Dayton Corps., among other things, according to the university.
The new building will also put its tenants just over a block away from the former Montgomery County Fairgrounds, which UD jointly purchased with Premier Health last year. UD and Premier each paid $5.25 million of the $15 million purchase price.
The 38-acre fairgrounds redevelopment is one of the most anticipated projects in recent Dayton history. Though Premier and UD have not made a final decision for the fairgrounds, they’ve proposed a number of ideas that include housing, retail and green space.
With the exception of one corner, the fairgrounds purchase gave UD complete control over the intersection of Stewart Street and Main Street, and UD leaders believe it’s a corridor that is poised to become even more prominent over time.
“We see Main Street, which is already so important for the city, becoming increasingly important to the future of Dayton,” Benson said. “So the proximity to GE and Emerson is important, but the proximity to the fairgrounds is especially important.”
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