Aerial view of Dayton skyline where More buildings on the National Register of Historic Places would help with tax breaks to renovate older buildings

Dayton could become Ohio’s largest city with downtown historic district

The city of Dayton wants downtown to become a historic district to make it easier for dozens of older buildings to get tax incentives to be redeveloped.

Under the proposal, about three-fourths of the Central Business District would become a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places, making Dayton the largest Ohio city to have its downtown designated, said Tony Kroeger, Dayton’s planning manager.

“This part of an economic strategy for downtown,” Kroeger said.

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Right now, there are about 53 buildings in downtown that are on the National Register individually or in two small historic districts: the Fire Blocks around the 100 block of East Third Street and the Terra Cotta district by Main and Fifth streets.

The new downtown historic district would include 108 buildings that would be “contributing,” meaning they have historic status.

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The buildings would be eligible for state and federal historic tax credits, which have helped finance some of downtown’s newer and most celebrated projects, such as the Delco Lofts, the Wheelhouse Lofts and Troll Pub, and the Steam Plant Dayton.

The Dayton Arcade has received millions of dollars in state and federal tax credits to help with its planned transformation.

The city, with the help of a consultant, will handle the research and other work necessary to obtain historic designation, saving property owners and developers the hassle of doing it themselves, Kroeger said.

Individual property owners typically have to spend as much as $10,000 to $15,000 to get their properties listed, given the considerable amount of historic research required as part of a nomination application, he said.

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Kroeger said creating the new historic district will not hinder building owners from making modifications to their buildings, nor will it prohibit certain uses or demolition, except for some projects that receive federal dollars.

The city plans to submit a draft of its historic district nomination by July 1. Approval of the new district could happen in early 2019.

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