New buildings for health care companies and colleges were among the top Dayton projects — valued at more than $280 million — started in 2018.
Builders, developers and others took out commercial permits valued at more than $284 million, a 31 percent increase from 2017 and more than double the value of projects the city approved permits for in 2016, city data analyzed by the Dayton Daily News shows.
“We’re just extremely busy,” said Scott Adams, city of Dayton’s chief building official. “There’s been so much activity, and we don’t see the activity slowing down at the very least for the next couple of years.”
Commercial construction activities were driven in large part by the major local nonprofit, educational and health care players, including , Premier Health, Dayton Children’s, Sinclair Community College, the University of Dayton and Grandview Medical Center.
But private developers also made some big bets on Dayton, especially around downtown and at the Dayton International Airport.
Last year, the city issued 399 commercial permits, which was 66 fewer than in 2017.
But the estimated value of the projects was $68 million more than the 2017 approved permits and $163 million than the 2016 permits.
Last year, there were around 50 commercial construction projects that were valued at $1 million or more. There were about 33 projects of that size in 2017.
One of the largest projects broke ground in October at South Main and Apple streets, across from Miami Valley Hospital.
Premier Health and Encompass Health Corp. are building a $27 million rehab inpatient rehab facility called the Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio.
Expected to open in spring 2020, the rehab institute will have 60 patient rooms, a therapy gym, courtyard, in-house pharmacy, dining room, day-room areas and a dialysis suite.
The center will help patients recovering from stroke, neurological disorders, hip fractures, brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation and orthopedic conditions, the hospital said.
Other local health care providers also began work on big projects in 2018.
Grandview Medical Center has spent millions remodeling its emergency department and other areas.
Dayton Children’s broke ground on a $14 million parking garage and a $6.1 million child health pavilion. The hospital also is creating a new 24-bed inpatient mental health unit for children.
“In the past five years, Dayton Children’s has grown tremendously and increased its staff by approximately 50 percent,” a hospital spokesperson said.
Other notable projects include University of Dayton’s roughly $9 million remodeling of the Roesch Library. Sinclair Community College is spending around $10.8 million to remodel Building 10 and construct an addition.
Often, with new projects come new jobs.
NorthPoint Development took out a permit for a project valued at $12 million to construct a 690,000-square-foot warehouse at the Dayton International Airport. The firm also obtained a permit for about $5.5 million worth of work at the site.
Online pet retail giant Chewy has signed a lease to occupy the space to use as a fulfillment center.
The company originally committed to bringing around 600 jobs to the facility. But the company recently told this newspaper the center might have twice as many workers.
NorthPoint also obtained a permit for a $16 million project to construct a 555,250-square-foot facility on Dog Leg Road at the airport. It will be the fourth massive facility NorthPoint has brought to airport property.
Site work has begun on a fifth building, and when all five are occupied, they are expected to employ more than 2,200 people, airport officials say.
The greater downtown area continued to be a hotbed of activity.
The Water Street District developers last year got to work on a roughly $9.5 million new apartment building near the eastern end of Fifth Third Field, the home of the Dayton Dragons. The building will have about 112 apartments and a grandstand on the second floor where residents can view Dragon games.
The Windsor Companies, the new developer of the Fire Blocks District, took out building permits for a roughly $8.2 million project to convert the upper floors of the four-story Huffman Block building into loft-style apartments. The developer also acquired a permit to convert the upper floors of the Elks building into apartments.
Champlin Architecture was the applicant for eight of the 50 most high-dollar commercial building permits in 2018, including the Dayton Children’s projects.
The projects Champlin is working on run the gamut from health care to commercial, and the common thread they share is they are geared at improving or providing new services for the local community, said David Glover, principal with Champlin, which is based in Cincinnati.
People across the country are moving back into cities and that’s happening in Dayton, which has amenities people want, an affordable cost of living and a talented workforce, he said.
“These projects are part of the backbone of a healthy infrastructure that will continue to provide incentives and amenities that companies look for when deciding if they should stay in a region or move to a region,” Glover said.
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