The Dayton City Commission this week approved selling the six-story building at 601 E. Third St. for $10 to Woodard Development.
That might seem like a steal, considering the city bought the property for about $450,000 six years ago.
But the building needs significant environmental cleanup, which is pricey, officials said.
“Sometimes we hear negative feedback on the sales prices,” said Joe Parlette, Dayton’s deputy city manager. “But in this case, this is going to save the city a significant amount of money.”
The building has a storied past: In the 1940s, it was used as a warehouse and lab for the Manhattan Project, which produced the first nuclear weapons. It’s also had other commercial uses, but has fallen into disrepair.
Jason Woodard, principal of Woodard Development, said there’s no set plans for the building yet, but they have plenty of ideas. The building is known as the McIntire company building.
The city bought the building in 2012 for a potential project that failed to move forward, city documents say.
“The sale relieves the city of maintenance costs and supports investment and redevelopment in the Webster Station area,” the city said.
Parlette said the McIntire building is in poor condition and will require significant investment by the developer to stabilize and clean up.
As part of the sales agreement, Woodard agreed to spend at least $350,000 on the property for things like repairs, remediation and structural stabilization.
Woodard’s investment in the property is expected to be about $4.8 million, whatever the mix of uses, the city said.
Woodard owns the empty building next door, at 607 E. Third St., which he is turning into restaurant space on the lower levels and offices upstairs.
His firm is one of the two developers behind the thriving Water Street District, which, like the buildings on the 600 block of East Third Street, is also located in Webster Station.
The McIntire building was an important part of history.
The Department of Energy used part of the building for Manhattan Project activities between 1946 and 1949, according to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Monsanto did not produce polonium-210 at the warehouse, but it was used for storage and a lab occupied the fifth floor. Warehouse operations reportedly only used trace amounts of polonium-210, and the building was decontaminated.
The McIntire building was constructed in 1912 and originally served as a wholesale grocery warehouse business.