Owner reaches deal to keep $5M in tax credits for downtown Dayton project

The group that owns one of downtown Dayton’s most recognizable buildings says it has resolved issues with the state after an agency threatened to rescind millions of dollars in tax credits.

The Centre City building at 40 S. Main St. has been at risk of losing $5 million in state historic tax credits because the owners had failed to demonstrate significant progress with the proposed $46 million project.

But David Roos, with Centre City Partners LLC, told this newspaper he recently spoke with the state and “we have it worked out.”

The 21-story office high rise is vacant, but Centre City Partners, which owns the building, proposed creating 164 new apartments plus commercial spaces on the ground level.

The Centre City building is just north of the Levitt Pavilion Dayton, which is a new music amphitheater that will host at least 50 free shows each year. Development leaders believe the pavilion will be the centerpiece of a nine-block revitalization strategy to create a new, lively urban neighborhood.

Many "anticipate that an injection of new life into that part of downtown might create a ripple effect on surrounding development," Andrew Walsh wrote on his Dayton Vistas website.

Two years ago, the state awarded $5 million in highly sought-after historic preservation incentives to the Centre City building (also called the United Brethren building) to help fund a major renovation project.

Without seeing visible progress, in July the Ohio Development Services Agency warned Centre City Partners that it needed to prove it had ownership of the property and had financing secured or risk forfeiting its award. Centre City Partners did not respond by the stated deadline of Nov. 30, the agency said.

A Dec. 20 letter obtained by this newspaper shows that the state told Centre City Partners LLC that it would rescind the approved application for tax credits, effective Dec. 31, unless the group immediately responded to the progress request and provided the requested information.

MORE: 5 things to know about the $46M plan for downtown building

Roos said that has now happened, but state officials on Wednesday could not immediately confirm those details.

A previous owner of the Centre City building was awarded about $2.8 million in state historic tax credits in December 2013. But the credits were later returned to the state because the project stalled. The proposal was to create new apartments in the 244,000-square-foot building.

The sheer size and condition of the building makes any reuse a challenge, said Walsh, author of "Lost Dayton, Ohio" and a librarian at Sinclair Community College.

In mid-2018, the original developer of the Fire Blocks District in downtown Dayton also seemed to be on the verge of forfeiting $4.5 million in state historic preservation tax incentives for a historic adaptive reuse project involving two buildings.

But a new developer, Windsor Companies, stepped in and took over the project and was able to hang onto the credits.

Windsor Companies, which now owns a collection of downtown buildings, is making headway create new apartments and retail and restaurant space in some old, vacant commercial buildings.

MORE: Dayton’s Fire Blocks faces deadline, could lose $4.5M in funds

About the Author