The historic downtown Dayton Arcade will be $1 million closer to re-opening if Montgomery County commissioners approve two resolutions today.
Half the funding would go to the Arcade Innovation Hub anchored by the University of Dayton and The Entrepreneurs Center. The partnership is expected to create more than 400 jobs after it’s kicked into gear sometime in 2020.
The two resolutions, expected to be approved, will fund permanent improvements within the complex, according to the county. One is an agreement with the city of Dayton. The other is an economic development/government equity (ED/GE) grant to help fund upgrades to heating and cooling systems for the Innovation Hub.
“This is just one more piece, and it’s a piece that means a lot to so many people in our community,” said Debbie Lieberman, Montgomery County Commission president.
The complex of buildings — some more than a century old — has sat unused for nearly 30 years despite many redevelopment attempts.
“We’ve had fits and starts,” Lieberman said.
The Innovation Hub, using 88,000 square feet of the 400,000 square-foot-complex, will host “entrepreneurs of every stripe,” said Scott Koorndyk, president of The Entrepreneurs Center.
“We’re going to occupy a very significant piece of the Arcade and really, as the name implies, drive innovation in the community,” Koorndyk said. “That second and third floor, all the offices and space that overlooks the rotunda, that is the Innovation Hub.”
The Arcade Innovation Hub, which will also encompass the McCrory Building, is being planned as a mixed-use space for University of Dayton academic and research programs, start-up companies and other types of businesses as well as collaborations with other higher education institutions, according to the university.
“We are grateful to the Montgomery County commissioners for this substantial support for the innovation hub and we’re excited about the partnership helping to continue the momentum toward launching this important community priority,” read a UD statement.
Two weeks ago, county commissioners agreed to put $750,000 toward the nearby Fire Blocks District redevelopment. Lieberman said the new investment in the Arcade, which was originally completed in 1904, continues part of a long-term strategy to reinvigorate the center of the city.
“This is so critical because it really is the heart of downtown,” Lieberman said. “We really believe a strong downtown makes for a stronger region. That’s why we are a part of this.”
County commissioners also approved Arcade funding in 2017, putting $200,000 toward infrastructure and site improvements.
Redevelopment of the Arcade hit a bump earlier this year when local partner Miller-Valentine Group pulled out of the housing portion of the project. Though not long after, two urban redevelopment firms — Cincinnati-based Model Group and St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar — signed on with the lead developer, Baltimore-based Cross Street Partners.
Cost of the entire project was pegged at $70 million in a plan unveiled in November 2016 by Cross Street Partners and Miller-Valentine Group.
In May, the city of Dayton agreed to loan $10 million to a partnership marking one of the city’s largest economic development investments since construction of the Schuster Center and Fifth Third Field.
The arcade partners have been awarded tens of millions of dollars in low-income housing tax credits, new market tax credits, state and federal historic tax credits and other incentives.