City, developer plan to spend $700K on Arcade repairs

Dayton commissioners on Wednesday will decide whether to authorize spending $700,000 on repairs to prevent further deterioration of the Dayton Arcade.

Under the proposal, the city would contribute $450,000 to the project and an unnamed development team would contribute $250,000, said Shelley Dickstein, Dayton’s interim city manager.

The development group is interested in converting the eight-building complex into a mix of housing, commercial space and possibly other uses, Dickstein said.

Details about the developer should be released after a memorandum of understanding is signed, most likely about adaptively reusing the downtown property, Dickstein said.

“I hope to be able to reveal (the developer) very quickly,” she said.

On Wednesday, city commissioners will vote whether to hire Miller-Valentine Commercial Construction to make repairs to the Arcade, located along W. Fourth Street between Main and Ludlow streets.

The contract calls for work that includes plugging leaks in the roof, replacing gutters, patching exterior holes and minor structural repairs. If the contract is approved, repairs should begin this month.

“We’ve been asked to make sure it is dry and stable,” said Ed Blake, senior partner with Miller-Valentine Group. “It makes sense to do it before winter, when you get more damage because of the freezing and snow.”

In July, a task force that evaluated the condition and redevelopment potential of the Arcade recommended the city pay for repair work to keep the complex dry and stable.

The task force, which was appointed by Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, estimated it would cost the city between $750,000 to $1.9 million over the next three to five years to preserve the buildings and avoid additional weather-related erosion.

The costs of restoring the Arcade would likely skyrocket if the property does not undergo emergency repairs before winter, the task force said.

The repairs should preserve the condition of the Arcade for three to five years, which will give the yet-unnamed development team an opportunity to develop a plan to reuse the complex, Dickstein said.

Over the years, multiple plans to redevelop the Arcade have fallen through.

But a consultant that worked with the task force said the Arcade is a strong candidate for adaptive reuse, even though such a project could cost between $55 million and $60 million.

Dickstein said today historic tax credits and new financing tools are available for historic buildings that were not around during previous plans for the Arcade. She said those incentives can make a project financially feasible.

“The toolbox is greatly enhanced,” she said.

She also said the downtown housing market is very hot and needs new, quality product.

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