Dayton Arcade impresses state elected leaders

CityWide’s Urban Design Director John Gower, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Rep. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, were part of a group that toured the Dayton Arcade on Wednesday. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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CityWide’s Urban Design Director John Gower, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Rep. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, were part of a group that toured the Dayton Arcade on Wednesday. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Tour comes day after missing out on state tax credits.

The Dayton Arcade did not receive any part of the $22.8 million in state historic tax credits that were announced Tuesday, which was unexpected and disappointing for developers and city leaders.

But a day later, the arcade earned rave reviews from several state legislators who toured the downtown complex.

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This included Rep. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, who indicated she would send a letter endorsing the redevelopment proposal when developers seek tax credits in the next funding round.

“This is such a unique piece of property that really could be the centerpiece for Dayton if it was really done up,” she said.

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein and Mayor Nan Whaley helped lead some local state lawmakers through the arcade to share the developers’ plans and vision for rehabbing the property, which has been vacant for decades.

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State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, and Mike Henne, R-Clayton, both praised the complex’s architecture and potential for new, creative uses.

Antani said state legislators put aside money in the budget for state historic tax credits, and he will advocate for reauthorizing the tax credit programs. He said he would be willing to submit a letter in support of the plan to renovate the arcade.

“I represent the southern suburbs, but in order to have a strong community, you need to have a strong core,” he said. “If Dayton rises, the southern suburbs rises.”

Henne said he’d study the financials closely before endorsing any project.

Lehner said developers will get another stab at obtaining historic tax incentives, and local legislators can speak up in favor of the project, hopefully to give its application an extra boost during the scoring process.

“It never hurts,” she said. “Certainly, it’s more powerful than our silence.”

The arcade earned a score of 85 out of a possible 100. It barely missed the mark. Plans to renovate the Centre City building at 40 S. Main St. received a $5 million allocation.

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