Downtown’s first modern skyscraper to go under $38M transformation

The Grant-Deneau Tower has been awarded more than $3.7 million in state historic preservation tax credits to rehab the 22-story downtown landmark.

The tower, downtown’s first modern skyscraper, is expected to be converted into new 11 floors of commercial space and offices, and most of the rest of the building will be turned into 100 new apartments, according to the state.

Windsor Companies, a Columbus company that is developing the Fire Blocks District in downtown Dayton, expects to spend about $38.8 million rehabbing the office tower, located at 40 W. Fourth St., across from the Dayton Arcade.

“This is huge,” said Eric VanZwieten, head of marketing and PR for Windsor Companies. “It’s a big win for downtown Dayton.”

The tower was the only Dayton project to win the highly sought after state tax incentives. Statewide, 27 other projects won awards.

Windsor Companies plans to renovate the building into offices and apartments and possibly new hotel rooms, VanZwieten said.

There will be food and beverage space on the ground floor, possibly a coffee shop, and a restaurant is planned for the top floor, with unmatched views of downtown, he said.

The mixed-use project is expected to take 24 to 30 months to finish, and the new apartments will be a similar style to the new units in the Fire Blocks District, VanZwieten said

Windsor Companies already has had success using state historic tax credits to create new commercial spaces and apartments on the 100 block of East Third Street.

“That probably helped,” VanZwieten said. “They’ve seen the product, they’ve seen what we can do and they want more.”

The company finished 100 new apartments in the Fire Blocks District, and about half are already leased, VanZwieten said. New ground-floor commercial uses will be coming online soon, he said.

The Grant-Deneau Tower has exceptional architecture and history, and though it needs considerable work, the “bones” are incredible, he said.

“There’s nothing else like it in Dayton,” he said.

The revitalization of the Grant-Deneau Tower would add to the growing momentum in what has been a sleepy part of downtown, owing to a large number of vacant commercial buildings.

The Dayton Arcade’s nine buildings are being revived and transformed into a variety of new uses, including housing, restaurant space, offices, arts spaces and an innovation center.

The city hopes the area will become a new thriving urban neighborhood. The opening of the nearby Levitt Pavilion Dayton has helped with the area’s transformation.

The Grant-Deneau Tower is significant for the role it played in the development in downtown Dayton, said Tony Kroeger, Dayton’s director of planning and community development.

The building, constructed in 1969, was an investment that showed resilience at a time when the region was rapidly developing outward and downtown was experiencing tremendous challenge and concern, he said.

The owner and developer of the Barclay building at 137 N. Main St. in downtown Dayton also applied for $2.5 million in state historic tax credits in this latest funding round but did not win an award.

This was the second time the project went after but was denied historic tax incentives.

Stephen Schwartz, chairman of First Hospitality, said his group is definitely disappointed and this likely will delay the project timeline, unless they can find some additional source of funding.

First Hospitality, which is co-developing the project with Lawyers Development, wants to remake the building into a new boutique hotel called Hotel Ardent, which would be part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton.

Schwartz said they are looking at their options but will reapply for a third time in the next funding round.

“We feel that this is a key and significant project to enhance the viability of downtown Dayton,” he said.

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