Rejected plans for fairgrounds in Dayton envisioned thriving centers

Two redevelopment proposals for the Montgomery County Fairgrounds were rejected this week for not meeting certain criteria and requiring too much public financial support .

But the proposals — from firms Miller-Valentine Group and Thompson Thrift — did outline unique visions for remaking the fairgrounds property into a new, mixed-use environment.

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Miller-Valentine Group’s plans were rooted in the property’s history and called restoring the roundhouse building, preserving other historical structures and elements and possibly bringing a year-round Ferris wheel and fair museum to the site.

Miller-Valentine, headquartered in Dayton, was interested in a market, brewery and beer garden for the horse barns.

The roundhouse would host programming and special events.

Miller-Valentine said it had secured a letter of interest from a grocery store and planned to create more than 800 residential units (649 for rent, 154 for sale), 75,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, 250 hotel rooms and 260,000 square feet of offices.

The firm estimated that the development would create 1,600 new jobs when completed, leading to nearly $2 million in new annual income for the city of Dayton.

Thompson Thrift, based in Indiana, planned to construct a hotel (120 rooms), theater (10 screens), housing (600 units) and 273,000 square feet of retail, restaurants and offices, according to their plans.

The center’s 525,000 square feet would include a specialty grocer anchor, boutique shops, a fitness and entertainment center and family-oriented restaurants, the plans state.

“Thompson Thrift Retail Group envisions the center as a “gateway” to a distinctive experience with an exceptional mix of opportunities and choices,” the firm said.

But a committee that reviewed the plans concluded they would have been too burdensome on Dayton taxpayers, because of the level of infrastructure investment being requested, city officials said.

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