City sells land, developer to build new homes in South Park

A conceptual rendering of new housing planned for a northeastern part of the South Park neighborhood, next to the Emerson Academy. CONTRIBUTED
A conceptual rendering of new housing planned for a northeastern part of the South Park neighborhood, next to the Emerson Academy. CONTRIBUTED

A developer wants to build 10 new market-rate homes on vacant land owned by the city of Dayton in a northeastern section of the South Park neighborhood.

The modern and energy-efficient homes will be have a modest footprint and are expected to attract young professionals and empty nesters, city officials said.

“This would be … approximately a $2 million investment,” said Keith Klein, city of Dayton economic development strategist.

South Park continues to have a hot housing market because of high demand, a tight inventory and few for-sale new housing being constructed downtown and in the closest inner ring neighborhoods, observers say.

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Earlier this month, the city of Dayton approved selling a roughly one-acre site on Buckeye Street near the Emerson Academy.

A group called T&M Fisher Development LLC agreed to buy the property for $80,000.

The developer, Trent Fisher, proposes constructing new, single-family homes in partnership with Slate Homes, which specializes in prefabricated, "sustainable, low- maintenance" homes.

Prefab homes are built off-site in factories and then are moved to properties and assembled.

The Buckeye Street land was acquired by the city in the 1960s during the urban renewal era and has been vacant since that time, Kline said.

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Construction of a model home is expected to start next summer, and the new housing should be completed within three years, the city said.

Fisher will finance the project in part by investing initial equity into an Opportunity Zone fund, city documents state.

The Opportunity Zone federal tax incentive program allows investors to defer or eliminate taxes on capital gains income invested in special funds that finance projects in economically distressed and under-served areas.

The project will still need to go through the planning and zoning process when the developer finalizes its designs, which is expected to happen in the spring, Kline said.

The real estate purchase agreement with the city states that the developer will create a planned development overlay for the property that needs Plan Board and city commission approval.

The developer has agreed to “good-faith efforts” to incorporate reasonable recommendations from city staff about design elements such as landscaping and LED lighting, the agreement states.

The South Park neighborhood already has welcomed a few new homes near its northwestern border that were built by the owners of Coco’s Bistro.

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Residential real estate in South Park remains very popular, with some buyers making offers on homes just hours or days after they hit the market.

“Listed properties are still selling very quickly, and many are going for above asking price,” said Historic South Park Inc. President Mark Keller. “The housing market is still very, very strong in South Park.

Keller told the Dayton Daily News he hasn’t reviewed the Buckeye Street plans, but guidelines for historical neighborhoods generally ask for a seamless transition between historic properties and newer, modern buildings.

Keller said he hopes the neighborhood will get to meet with the developer to talk about his plans.

Keller said the high level of interest in South Park housing likely will lead to new homes being built on vacant lots and anywhere else developers can get land.

A large amount of vacant land exists on the northwestern edge of the neighborhood, between Burns Avenue and Adams Street. Much of the property used to be the Clinburn Manor public housing development, which was torn down.

A couple of years ago, developers constructed a 43-unit apartment building called the Flats at South Park on a piece of land at Cline and Warren streets.

The developer proposed other phases to construct new condos, townhomes and other types of for-sale housing on the vacant land, but those plans have not moved ahead.

If T&M Fisher Development does not complete the project within 36 months, the developer will provide the city with the right of “first refusal” to repurchase the property for no more than $80,000, the purchase agreement says.