Downtown hotel project gets $2.45M in tax credits

The plan to convert the Barclay Building downtown into a boutique hotel got a boost Thursday as the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded the project $2.45 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits.

Chicago-based First Hospitality, along with Columbus firm Lawyers Development, have been working toward the project since buying the 137 N. Main St. property in 2018.

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The roughly $25 million effort would rehab the building to create the upscale, 118-room Hotel Ardent, with an accompanying high-quality restaurant, according to the developers.

Amy Walbridge, downtown development coordinator for the city of Dayton, said interior demolition on the project is already complete.

“I’m happy the Hotel Ardent team stuck with us. This was their third try at trying to attract a state historic preservation tax credit allocation,” Walbridge said. “Their tenacity paid off. I’m glad they believe in Dayton and the region’s downtown.”

The American Hotel & Lodging Association said earlier this year that record-low hotel occupancy rates from the COVID-19 pandemic might not recover until 2022. But in June, the Hotel Ardent developers expressed confidence, and on Thursday they said they’re targeting an early 2022 opening.

Representatives of the developers said the project — which would be part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton hotels — is “in the process of finalizing construction financing, which had been delayed due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.”

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In recent years, downtown Dayton has seen the former Dayton Grand/Doubletree Hotel across from City Hall close in 2016, and the new Fairfield Inn & Suites near the Dayton Dragons stadium open in 2018.

The Barclay Building at the southwest corner of First and Main, across the street from the Victoria Theatre, housed the Miller-Valentine Group’s headquarters until 2018. The 10-story building was constructed in the 1920s and had served for years as commercial office space.

“Twenty-four rounds of this (tax credit) program have proven that historic preservation is a catalyst for investment in our downtowns and neighborhoods,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “These historic buildings will be a part of our recovery.”

Developers are not issued the tax credit until project construction is complete and all program requirements are verified. The $2.45 million for the Dayton hotel effort was the fifth-largest credit of the 25 awarded statewide in this round, and the only one for a Dayton-area project.

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