An artist rendering of what the outside of the Grant Deneau Tower could look like if renovated. CONTRIBUTED

Downtown Dayton’s first skyscraper put on the market

The owners of a trail-blazing downtown skyscraper have put it on the market in the hopes of finding a buyer who sees the same kinds of potential in the property as they did.

Matrix Realty Group, the owners of the 23-story Grant Deneau Tower at 40 W. Fourth St., wanted to redevelop the tower into a mix of housing and office space using historic tax credits.

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But Matrix’s CEO and founder died in late 2015, and his estate wants to sell the vacant tower or, possibly, find a partner for a joint venture, said Aaron Smiles, managing director of commercial leasing with Matrix, which is based in New York.

The 240,000-square-foot building, Smiles said, has a great location across from the Dayton Arcade, is eligible for tax credits to reduce the costs of redevelopment and has an attached parking garage, which is especially enticing and rare.

“That whole block, which they call the Nine, is going to take off,” Smiles said. “This is going to be a spectacular property.”

An artist rendering of what the outside of the Grant Deneau Tower could look like if renovated. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Staff Writer

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The Grant Deneau Tower, Dayton’s first modern skyscraper, fell on hard times after Premier Health moved its headquarters out in 2012. The building was more than 90 percent vacant by late 2015.

The Grant Deneau’s last remaining tenants packed up and left in 2016. They were the state of Ohio and law firm ES Gallon and Associates.

But Matrix Realty Group was always bullish on the tower’s redevelopment prospects.

In recent years, the owners shared plans to acquire tax credits to convert the tower into retail and office space on the first six floors and housing on everything above.

RELATED: Grant Deneau Tower receives historic designation

That plan, however, was thrown off course when Glen Nelson, the firm’s founder, died of a heart attack at the age of 48.

But Smiles said he’s confident the building will attract interest from groups that recognize its unique advantages and offerings.

The building has a 360-space attached garage, is in good condition and is eligible for state and federal historic tax credits because it is list on the National Register of Historic Places, Smiles said.

The owners obtained the historic designation even though the building was not old enough to qualify for standard consideration. The Grant Deneau, however, was deemed to be of exceptional historic significance, which paved the way for placement on the register.

Tax credit awards will reduce the cost of renovating the tower and converting it into a mix of uses, such as housing and commercial, retail and restaurant space, Smiles said.

“The hardest part of getting the tax credits is already done, and that’s getting the building on the historic registry,” Smiles said. “The tax credits really make it affordable to redevelop the property.”

The mixed-use opportunities should be “appetizing” for some local and regional players, Don Roberts, first vice president for CBRE investment properties, which is marketing the tower.

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