Fairborn’s new motto says it’s “A City In Motion.” It easily could have been “Pardon the Construction.”
The announcement of Menards deciding to build a store in Fairborn, on top of the announcement in October that Pepsi would relocate to the Greene County suburb in a consolidation of Dayton and Springfield operations, are the latest products of what officials in the city say has been work over the last five years to position the city for growth.
“What I like is they’re kind of thinking outside the box with their ideas,” said Dave Dickerson, Dayton market president at Miller Valentine. He said Fairborn city officials, under the direction of City Manager Rob Anderson, have “had some good wins.”
“A lot of growth continues to meander up and down (Interstate) 675,” Dickerson said. “I think it’s going to continue.”
Assistant City Manager Michael Gebhart said construction is “moving right along” at the new Pepsi distribution facility on Spangler Road near Ohio 444 and Interstate 675. The Dayton Daily News reported in October that about 150 jobs will move from Dayton and Springfield to a new 150,000 square foot facility.
Fairborn provided a property tax abatement for the Pepsi project and helped extend a gas line to the property. When asked about concerns about what might derail Fairborn’s development progress, Gebhart said the key will be continuing to make sure the city can extend infrastructure to undeveloped areas.
“We have the last two exits on 675 that aren’t developed,” Gebhart said. “Our team has worked diligently to make sure the infrastructure is good in those spots so we can attract business.”
Asked about the future of the Elder-Beerman Distribution Center on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road given the challenges facing parent company The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., Gebhart on Thursday said he’s received no details. A report from Bloomberg earlier this month suggested Bon-Ton’s creditors may soon propose bankruptcy.
“We’ve heard nothing negative, but we’ve heard nothing positive either,” he said. “That building is actually owned by another company not associated with Bon-Ton and they lease it to them.”
The home improvement retailer Menards announced this month it would build a new Fairborn store next to the recently built and opened Kroger Marketplace on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road. The store is estimated at 173,000 square feet with a garden center. The store will be the first Greene County location for the Wisconsin-based Menards, which has more than 300 locations across the heartland. Gebhart said the store has been eyeing Fairborn “for a number of years” and hopes to start construction in 2019 for the start of the spring 2020 gardening season.
On the restaurant front, Spark Gluten-Free kitchen incubator opened Jan. 18 in the temporary space at 311 Main St. Fairborn’s brand strategist, Tiffany Ferrell, this month said the opening was the first phase of a broader “Spark Fairborn” project under construction downtown and slated to open this summer. Lefty’s Eats & Espresso, which will be located at 2 W. Main St., is expected to open soon. Lawren Williams, the owner, closed a prior restaurant in Yellow Springs.
Dunkin’ Donuts confirmed this month it would add a sixth Dayton-area location in Fairborn. Pat Gilligan, who owns the store’s franchises in the area, told the Dayton Daily News this month the store at 168 E. Dayton-Yellow Springs Road should open in June or July. He cited Fairborn’s strong demographics and traffic counts as factors for the decision to locate in the city.
Fairborn city government continues to guide the tear-downs of nuisance residences in the city, a multi-year effort that has seen more than 100 properties demolished.
Meanwhile, development of the Waterford Landing and the Bluffs on Trebein subdivisions continues. As of the last year’s end, Waterford Landing had 86 lots available in sections eight and nine, with another 44 lots anticipated for section 10, which could be approved later this year. Council has approved a plan for more than 185 lots as part of the Bluffs on Trebein.
“Fairborn’s got both commercial and residential booming,” Gebhart said. “We’ve laid the foundation for this for years. All the elements are coming together real well.”
Staff Writer Mark Fisher contributed reporting.