Historic school on Salem Avenue planned for redevelopment

Dayton’s school board will approve the sale of 10 former school sites next Tuesday — nine vacant lots plus the historic Longfellow school at 245 Salem Avenue, which will become a redevelopment project.

The Longfellow property, some of which dates to 1880, is being purchased for $170,500 by G.F. Bailey, a local “impact investing” firm that connects investors with projects targeting “socially responsible change.”

DECEMBER: Salem Avenue redevelopment plans grow

G.F. Bailey Principal Tim Forbess said the firm hopes to complete an “adaptive reuse,” turning the stately brick school into market-rate housing units. He said other elements of the project could include returning the school’s attractive theater to community use and starting an aqua-farm operation on-site to supply healthy food, possibly in connection with Gem City Market, which is about to break ground a block away.

“I’ve been a part of the Salem Avenue Corridor for more than 30 years, and I care about two significant parts of this community,” Forbess said. “One is creating space that the whole community can participate in and enjoy, and second, creating a community that is focused on being very healthy and stable.”

2017 STORY: DPS closes aging Longfellow school

Forbess said visible work on the project will not start immediately, as his group must apply for state historic tax credits, while also engaging with socially conscious investors. The school is in a state “opportunity zone,” making new investments eligible for preferential tax treatment.

The Longfellow property needs work, Forbess acknowledged. When Dayton Public Schools stopped using the building as a school in 2017, one issue was a hole in the roof that had led to interior damage.

Forbess said G.F. Bailey will continue to work with Salem Avenue Peace Corridor representatives, making sure to listen to community input on what people want to see from the Longfellow property.

SEPTEMBER: G.F. Bailey to build tornado-resistant homes

G.F. Bailey — named after the character George Bailey from the film “A Wonderful Life” — has focused its efforts in areas that face redevelopment challenges. Forbess said a separate project to build affordable replacement housing in the Sycamore Woods area of Trotwood now has secured county permits and should begin earth-moving in the coming weeks.

Five sales to one owner

According to school board documents, the other nine properties being sold are vacant lots where school buildings once stood. Five of them are being bought by Clayton Kantner of suburban Cincinnati.

Kantner said Thursday that he’s working with the city of Dayton to get the sites rezoned for commercial use. He said he hopes to redevelop the sites, but has not finalized plans. Those sales are:

• The former Julienne High School property at 325 Homewood Ave., just west of Main and Forest, for $39,820.

• The former Orville Wright School property at 200 S. Wright Ave., just west of Burkhardt and Smithville, for $45,870.

• The former Charles Loos School property at 45 Wampler Ave., north of North Main and Siebenthaler, for $29,333.

• The former Jefferson school property at 1223-1231 N. Euclid Ave, northeast of Grand and Rosedale for $6,930.

• The former McNary Park School property at 2400 Hoover Ave., a block west of James H. McGee Boulevard, for $4,070.

Other school sites sold

• The former Shiloh School property at 5670 Philadelphia Drive, just north of Main Street, is being bought for $8,800 by Dwight A. Favors of Houston.

• The former Jane Addams School property at 35 Victory Drive, along West Third just west of the VA cemetery, is being bought for $5,830 by Elijah Hess of Dayton.

• The former Weaver School property at 101 S. Mathison St., off West Third south of the Greater Dayton Rec Center, is being bought for $2,200 by Robert Patterson of Dayton.

• A baseball park property behind 6927 N. Main St. in Harrison Twp., is being bought for $23,000 by Vista Properties Management of Dayton.

About the Author