Developers scoop up downtown properties

Group wants a downtown Dayton entertainment district.

A development group that wants to create a downtown entertainment district has purchased an abandoned commercial building and a parking lot near some of its targeted properties.

Elliott Katz has purchased the five-story Graphic Arts Building at 221 S. Ludlow St., which was once known as Drury Press.

Katz and his business partner Winfield Gibson are interested in converting the building into residential units, possibly with a focus on student housing. Their development partnership is called the Ellway Group.

“We are looking at all the options for a residential rehab of that property,” Katz said.

Their group also recently acquired the Price Stores’ parking lot on South Jefferson Street to serve their commercial properties along East Third Street in the Fire Blocks District.

“We’re doing our best to enhance and increase our foothold here and help improve the entire city,” Katz said.

Graphic Arts Building LLC paid $74,500 for the Graphic Arts Building, which it bought from Urban Preservation.

The actual acquisition cost was a little higher because there were back taxes that needed paid, Katz said.

Katz said converting the building into housing would serve the large, untapped market of Sinclair Community College students. The college is located a few blocks away and has more than 20,000 students.

The Graphic Arts Building is on the National Register of Historic Places, which would make it eligible for federal and state historic tax credits. Tax credits reduce the costs of rehabilitation projects.

Katz and Gibson also are under contract to purchase the former site of the Dayton Daily News building, located at Fourth and Ludlow streets.

The property owner proposed to build student housing on the site, but the project failed to move forward. Katz and Gibson have not announced their plans for the property.

But they are interested in creating a lively entertainment district on E. Third Street, featuring housing and commercial and hospitality space. They own the buildings at 100 and 124 E. Third St, and they also own the David building across the street.

Late last year, the development group bought the Price Stores’ parking lot for about $200,000 to support their E. Third Street properties. Katz in the early 2000s helped redevelop the Medical Center at St. Elizabeth complex.

The Graphics Arts Building was completed in 1925. It was placed on the National Register for its architectural merit, as well as its role in the city’s publishing legacy, said Tony Kroeger, senior planner with the city.

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