Simms looks at new homes in Wright Dunbar

Downtown Dayton’s leading home-builder is considering constructing new housing in the Wright Dunbar neighborhood, which would be a more affordable and completely new product for the developer.

Charles Simms Development is looking at building new attached, two-story homes that have about 1,300 square feet of space.

The housing, possibly called the Cottages at Wright Dunbar, remains in the planning phase, but the homes could sell for between $150,000 and $200,000.

The first 10 or so homes could be built on a half acre of vacant land near Oak and Ivy Park, which is by the intersection of Horace Street and Anderson-Goodrich Court.

“Seeing the way this Third Street corridor is starting to thrive and grow, we logically went and started looking at the Wright Dunbar neighborhood,” said Charlie Simms, the company president.

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Charles Simms Development continues to look for new places to build downtown, but so far hasn’t been able to found the right site, Simms said. The company’s search expanded to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Simms has built dozens of new homes in multiple locations throughout the urban center since 2011.

Simms’ newest downtown product, called the “Lowe” townhomes, are the fourth and final part of the upscale Monument Walk community, with prices ranging from the upper-$400,000s to the lower-$500,000s levels.

The homes Simms is looking to bring to Wright Dunbar would be more affordable and have a cottage-type style, with hardieplank fiber-cement siding, Simms said. They would have white trim and different colors, such as muted gray, to blend into the historic neighborhood, he said.

The homes would have elevated wood front porches and one-car garages. Interiors would have nine-foot ceilings and possibly exposed truss ceilings.

Simms is eyeing vacant land that the city owns and wants to see redeveloped.

In 2017, this newspaper reported that a city of Dayton request for qualifications to redevelop about 30 vacant lots in the Wright Dunbar Village neighborhood received no responses from developers. The city was offering the lots for $1.

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Simms said it’s hard to build homes for under $200,000, but the cottages could be sold for less than that if he can acquire free lots with infrastructure already in place.

“If we can establish market-rate housing over here, it’s going to be huge for the area,” he said.

Simms recently shared his housing ideas with Wright Dunbar residents and property owners. He said the feedback was constructive and included comments about architectural details and suggestions how to get the plans approved.

Some neighbors raised concerns about increased traffic and design details.

But the overall reception from neighbors was positive and Simms Development has a strong reputation and track record, said Jeff Jackson, president of the Wright Dunbar Village Neighborhood Association.

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Jackson said it’s refreshing and exciting that Simms wants to work with the neighborhood to develop his housing plan.

“We’re excited about the opportunity and doing everything we can to make it happen,” he said.

Simms said there could be multiple phases of housing if the initial homes sell.

The neighborhood wanted to know more about potential future housing sites, and Simms will meet with the city to try to work out a more comprehensive vision for the area.

Robi Simms, vice president of sales and marketing with Simms Development, said Wright Dunbar is a good place to start, but the areas along West Third Street and Wolf Creek have potential for new home construction.

Simms Development is interested in working out a plan and obtaining the necessary approvals this year and start construction work in 2020.

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