The owners of the Commodore building at 522 W. Grand Ave. say they want to renovate the building into 42 apartments. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Company wants to rehab high-rise, bring new housing downtown

A local company that proposes spending millions to rehab a nearly vacant apartment high-rise in the Grafton Hill Historic District also says it plans to make a big bet on downtown housing.

Midwest Acquisition & Management owns the 12-story Commodore building at 522 Grand Ave. and has applied for $655,000 in state historic tax credits to help finance a renovation of the structure.

The company has renovated three other apartment buildings in the historic district and is in talks to purchase five other downtown buildings, said Doug Higa, CEO and principal with Midwest Acquisition & Management.

“We’re bullish on Dayton, we love Dayton,” he said.

RELATED: Dayton Arcade seeks $5M in state historic tax credits

Midwest Acquisition & Management has a land contract for the Commodore building, which Higa and another partner bought last year as part of a four-property portfolio, he said. Higa and the partner parted ways, and he formed a new company, Midwest Acquisition, with Bradley Millward (COO) and Dan Fish (CFO).

Midwest Acquisition plans to spend about $6.6 million to renovate the high-rise into 42 apartments, according to the company’s application for state historic tax credits. Today, the building only has a couple of tenants, as well as the offices of Midwest Acquisition.

Midwest Acquisition has remodeled and leased out the other apartment buildings in the portfolio it acquired, which are at 310 and 316 Superior Ave. and 320 Grafton Ave., Higa said. Combined, they have 45 units.

“We take Class C properties and turn them into Bs and As,” he said.

The restoration of the Commodore building should take about 18 months and will occur floor by floor, Higa said.

The apartments will be marketed partly to medical students and professionals at Grandview Medical Center, as well as employees of other local businesses, schools and hospitals, the company said.

Midwest Acquisition is also in negotiations to purchase five other downtown properties that represent about 480,000 square feet of space, Higa said.

Most of the buildings are vacant and would be adaptive reuse projects, he said.

The company also is looking at a portfolio of properties across the river in the Grafton Hill area that have 110 housing units, Higa said.

“Our developments downtown will have a work, eat, play theme,” Higa said.

The Commodore property has many apartments that were not fit for occupation, and the receipt of tax credits ensures the economic viability of the building, said Dan Barton, who is working as the historic tax consultant and helped prepare the application for historic tax credits.

The Grafton Hill district has seen a “bleed over effect” from the popularity of downtown housing, as people look for living options within walking distance of the urban center, Barton said.

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