Fire blocks develoment

Music venue, crossfit gym and tequila restaurant planned for downtown

A taco and tequila restaurant, a crossfit gym, a custom tattoo shop and live music venue are planned for an area near the heart of downtown Dayton.

The Elway Group bought a cluster of buildings along the 100 block of E. Third Street with the goal of creating a vibrant entertainment district offering housing and commercial and hospitality space.

Elway partners said a Mexican food-type establishment with high-end tequilas is moving into the long-vacant storefront at 100 E. Third St., next to the space being renovated to expand the Century Bar.

The Elway Group also purchased the building at 111 E. Fourth St. — most recently operated as Hammerjax Night Club — and plans to renovate the property into a top-end music venue, said Winfield Scott Gibson, co-owner of the Fireblocks properties.

In addition, Gibson said tenants have been lined up and secured for storefront space along the 100 block of East Third Street, but declined to identify them.

However, documents filed with the state indicate the prospective tenants are Centerville CrossFit and Wells & Co. Custom Tattoo.

“My goal right now for this year is to put as much quality, first-floor activation as possible that is congruent with what our vision is for the Fire Blocks,” Gibson said.

The Elway Group plans to spend about $23 million rehabilitating two early 20th-century commercial buildings on the 100 block of East Third Street, according to information filed with the state as part of a tax credit application.

The proposal is to create 84 apartments with indoor parking in the four-story David Building, 129 E. Third St.

The project also calls for renovating three floors of the Elks building, 100 E. Third St., into commercial space on the ground floor and 10 apartments on the upper levels.

The Fire Blocks project is seeking almost $4.5 million in state historic tax credits. The state will announce the awards by the end of June.

Gibson said the vacant storefront space at the corner of Third and Jefferson streets will become an upper-end Mexican-style restaurant with a full kitchen. The restaurant will occupy about 3,000 square feet of space.

He also said one tenant has signed a lease for storefront space in the David Building and another signed a letter of intent.

Gibson declined to identify the tenants or name of the restaurant.

But the tax credit application obtained by this newspaper says the restaurant will be called El Sueno Restaurant.

The application also says Centerville CrossFit will occupy 3,400 square feet of first-floor space at the east end of the David Building. Wells & Co. Custom Tattoo in Vandalia is expected to occupy 4,800 square feet of space.

The Elway Group consists of Gibson and his business partner, Elliot Katz.

In addition to heavily investing in East Third Street, they also bought the five-story Graphic Arts Building at 221 S. Ludlow St., which was once known as Drury Press. They plan to convert the building into housing that targets students enrolled at Sinclair Community College, which is located just blocks away.

The group also acquired the Price Stores’ parking lot on South Jefferson Street. And in February, they bought the former home of Hammerjax for about $150,000. It is the old Journal Herald building.

Hammerjax closed several years ago after the city of Dayton objected to its liquor permit.

Gibson said the live music venue will be high-end and will be vastly different than the former, problem night club.

And Gibson said Elway Group is not done. They working to acquire still more property in that section of downtown.

“We are about to report some more acquisitions. … This market is that hot, and it blows my mind that people just don’t see it,” Gibson said.

On Saturday, the future restaurant space will be open for the downtown housing tour.

Visitors will learn about the development planned for the Fire Blocks District. Artist renderings and 3-D models will be displayed showing apartment and interior designs.

“We are using that as a staging area,” said Katz, the co-owner of the Fire Blocks properties.

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