Miamisburg to demolish part of former store, seek downtown housing

A Miamisburg complex that housed an iconic clothing retailer before it ended a 115-year run is the focus of an effort to bring more housing to the downtown district.

Demolition of part of the complex of buildings that Suttman’s Men’s and Boys’ Wear occupied at 24-32 S. Main St. until 2013 is targeted for late spring or early summer, and the city is looking to redevelop the site with “high-quality retail and residential space,” said Miamisburg Development Director Chris Fine.

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“Those are the uses that fit downtown with everything going on,” he said. “And those are the visions of what we want downtown to be – quality housing with some type of uses on the first floor that generate foot traffic and bring people downtown.”

The main three-story building – constructed around 1900, according to the city – will remain, but a single-floor structure on its north side lacks the stability for the redevelopment effort the city seeks to launch later this year, Fine said.

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“Most of the building is in excellent shape structurally,” he said. “If they’re kept dry – without a lot of water penetration, leaking roofs or whatever – they don’t build buildings today like they built them back in 1900. They built substantial buildings back then.

“I would say if you find a building that’s a century old and the roof has remained pretty dry and it hasn’t got a lot of water damage, then generally it’s going to be in pretty good shape – unless owners have removed walls they shouldn’t have,” Fine added. “But that really hasn’t been the case here.”

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An assessment by architect David Sweeney – who helped out on the renovation of the Historic Plaza Theatre across the street – concluded much of the site is viable for redevelopment, according to the city.

City council “recognized that the building was a key component of downtown’s architectural landscape,” according to the city. It acquired the site through donation last year.

The city is preparing to seek bids for the demolition, which will result in nearly 25 percent of the estimated 23,000 square feet being torn down. The project is expected to cost about $105,000, with $75,000 of that from Community Development Block Grant funds, records show.

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Miamisburg Mayor Dick Church Jr. said last week “downtown is coming back” with the city working on the area’s revitalization as part of its strategic plan. Yet, comments on Facebook showed reaction to the move is mixed.

“Why are they so quick to destroy history for new modern development?,” asked Jennifer Turney Krohn. “Do they really need what will be put in its place?”

Former Miamisburg High School student Traci Miller countered the city is moving is right direction, noting “Suttman’s has a special place in the hearts of everyone that grew up there since that was the store that carried all the MHS spirit wear.

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“Miamisburg is a small town that has been very mindful and intentional in refurbishing historical landmark buildings over the years,” she said. “Most of the buildings on that historical strip have been updated and now contain thriving businesses and have brought that area back to life.”

The city is working with Sweeney on demolition drawings and bid specifications, records show. After the bid is awarded and demolition completed, Miamisburg plans to seek proposals from developers, according to the city.

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