Developer ready to start environmental work at Valley Street site

Vacant industrial land near Children’s Medical Center of Dayton could be transformed into space for retail stores or medical offices following an environmental study of the land, a redevelopment company official said Tuesday.

The Ohio Controlling Board Monday approved just over $195,000 in Clean Ohio Assistance Fund money to investigate the environmental state of property at 1030 Valley Street.

The money will be used to determine the “environmental suitability” of the site, property that could be redeveloped, an Ohio Development Services Agency spokeswoman said.

Michael Heitz, a principal with redevelopment firm Garrett Day LLC, said Tuesday that he has spoken with nearby Children’s Medical Center of Dayton and two possible retail users about the property. “There is a demand for retail there,” he said. He did not identify the possible retail users.

But the immediate next steps will be to begin drilling in the ground in early July to learn the extent of chemical contamination there, Heitz said. That’s what the Clean Ohio money is for, he said.

The property was home to the former Dayton Electroplate Inc. business. Garrett Day acquired the property through the Montgomery County Land Bank with an eye on redeveloping the site, according to city of Dayton project notes submitted in March to JobsOhio, the state’s private development arm, and the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund.

The property is located in a “potential redevelopment area” known as the “DaVinci Project,” which is bounded by Interstate 75, Ohio 4, the Mad River and Stanley Avenue, the city said in its notes.

According to the city’s notes, Garrett has been in discussions with Children’s Medical Center on having this property be a part of its “Gateway project.” The medical center is identified in the city’s notes as the site’s “end user.”

Heitz confirmed discussions with Children’s, but he cautioned that there are other possible uses for the property. The former plant there was torn down in April.

Dayton Electroplate operated a 60,000-square-foot plating facility at the site from 1984 to 1996, the city said. The company provided nickel, chrome, zinc and clear coatings. The firm filed for bankruptcy protection in April 1996.

Real estate firm Miller Valentine-GEM Real Estate may be interested in building a medical office center for Children’s or a doctors group in the area, the city’s notes also said.

Dave Dickerson, Miller-Valentine GEM president and partner, said the firm may be placing that property on the market for build-to-suit opportunities. He did not think anything was in the works at the moment, however.

“I know there have been meetings with Children’s,” Dickerson said. “I know being in the same neighborhood (as Children’s) there is some synergy there.”

In a prepared statement, Deborah Feldman, president and chief executive of Children’s and chair of the Da Vinci project, said she was pleased to see progress in the area.

“While we are very involved in this redevelopment project, we have no plans as a hospital for the development of the former Dayton Electroplate property, but are excited about the opportunity to work with the property owner and the DaVinci Project to strengthen this important gateway to our hospital,” Feldman said in the statement.

Lexington, Ky.-based Garret has been busy in Dayton lately. Heitz said his firm is securing permits to demolish properties at 1267 Keowee St. (the former “Love Boutique”) and a former motel at 1450 Keowee St. He is eyeing other properties as well, he said.

“We think Dayton will come back,” Heitz said.

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