City looks to buy part of former Dayton Daily News site

New developers have expressed interest in some of the property, according to the city.

The Dayton City Commission on Wednesday will decide whether to spend $450,000 to purchase part of the former Dayton Daily News site downtown from demolition contractor Steve R Rauch.

The city is considering purchasing 117 W. Fourth St. and 45 S. Ludlow St. to support the future redevelopment of the properties, officials said.

The historic Dayton Daily News building is not part of the real estate deal and it is unclear what will happen to that property.

A recent proposal to turn the site into housing geared toward students unraveled after a series of setbacks and delays.

The city has tried to take a more active role in determining the future of prominent downtown buildings and properties, officials said.

“We wanted to make sure, in city leadership, that we were not bystanders in the development opportunities of downtown and the city as a whole,” said Aaron Sorrell, Dayton’s director of planning and community development.

The city commission this week also will vote on whether to spend as much as $250,000 over five years to maintain the Paru Tower, a downtown office tower the city bought earlier this year for $500,000.

The 1908 original Dayton Daily News building still stands at the corner of Fourth and Ludlow Streets. However, the surrounding site is empty.

Several years ago, Missouri-based company called Student Suites proposed building housing at the location that was geared toward students.

But despite buying the property, Student Suites’ housing project failed to move forward.

Company officials said the project’s financing fell through after there were problems with a city-owned parcel that contained a federal deed restriction.

ExploreStudents Suites received nearly $2 million from the city and Cox Media Group Ohio to help preserve the historic newspaper building and redevelop the property.

Steve R Rauch was hired to perform demolition on the site. But Rauch said he ceased removal activities after not receiving any payment for $869,000 in work.

Rauch sued Student Suites for his unpaid bills, and the parties earlier this year agreed to a settlement that would deed the properties over to Rauch.

“It’s sad it’s taken so long,” said Rauch, who is still waiting for the titles to be transferred.

On Wednesday, city commissioners will decide whether to buy 27 small parcels from Rauch located north of West Fourth Street, between South Wilkinson and South Ludlow streets.

The city wants to take control of the site because there has been redevelopment interest from three parties who want to create new housing, said Sorrell.

Potential redevelopment could again include housing aimed at the student market, Sorrell said.

The city plans to issue a request for proposals for the site, likely this fall, he said. The site still has roughly $300,000 in demolition work that needs completed.

“We wanted to make sure we controlled the destiny for this particular piece of real estate and get it as quickly as possible back into productive use,” Sorrell said.

Rauch previously said he hoped to give the property to historic Dayton Daily News building to Dayton History. But Dayton History has not spoken with Rauch about his plans, said Brady Kress President & CEO of Dayton History.

Also on Wednesday, commissioners will decide whether to approve an agreement with the Montgomery County Land Reutilization Company to hold the title and manage the Paru Tower, located at 34 N. Main St.

The agreement would allow the city spending as much as $250,000 to pay for maintenance and utility costs for the property over five years if need be. However, the city plans to issue a request for proposals to redevelop the property in the next three to four months.

The building hopefully will start being adaptively reused long before then, officials said.

The agreement, if approved, will save the city money because the land bank’s hold on the property makes it exempt from property taxes.

“This gives the property relief from additional tax liabilities that may limit or eliminate interest in its reuse,” said Michael Grauwelman, executive director of the land bank. “Often these tax liabilities mount up discouraging redevelopment interest.”

The land bank will develop and manage a maintenance plan for the property as the city seeks a developer, Grauwelman said.

In recent years, the city has bought and invested in properties to help aid their redevelopment.

The city agreed to spend $450,000 of city funds on repairs to the Dayton Arcade to prevent further weather erosion.

Several years ago, the city spent about $450,000 each on the 210 Wayne Ave. property and a facility at 601 E. Third St.

A Kentucky developer plans to convert the Wayne Avenue facility into housing and a restaurant. The city hopes the Third Street facility can be adaptively reused.


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