The $6M ask: Developers seek funds for Dayton office, housing projects

The developer of the Wheelhouse Lofts hopes to transform the six-story building at 15 McDonough St. into offices. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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The developer of the Wheelhouse Lofts hopes to transform the six-story building at 15 McDonough St. into offices. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Ohio historic preservation tax credits deserve some credit for bringing new housing, restaurants and entertainment spaces to downtown Dayton.

But the state has millions more in tax credits to award this summer, and a couple of local projects hope to get a share.

Weyland Ventures, the Kentucky firm behind the Wheelhouse Lofts and Troll Pub at the Wheelhouse, has requested $1.8 million in credits to rehab the Dayton Motor Car building at 15 McDonough St.

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The firm proposes converting the six-story building into new offices and commercial space aimed at professional services including creative types and knowledge-based businesses that want to be near downtown.

Some of the building could be occupied by Gosiger, which is a robotics and technology company that has its headquarters nearby, according to the tax credit application. The motor car building has open floor space and large windows offering abundant natural light.

“It’s a raw shell right now, and we would be totally renovating the building,” said Lee Weyland, director of commercial leasing for Weyland Ventures. “It would have the character of the historic building but all the modern amenities and infrastructure that office users expect.”

Weyland Ventures has talked about rehabbing the building for at least a couple of years. The firm unsuccessfully applied for $5 million state historic tax credits in the state’s last funding round.

But in the last round, there was stiff local competition from the Dayton Arcade, which was awarded $4 million in credits in December after winning $5 million in incentives six months earlier.

Weyland Ventures say they hope to open the new office building in late 2019, early 2020.

RELATED: $40 million investment planned to extend Oregon District

The Wheelhouse Lofts and Troll Pub, located on the 200 block of Wayne Ave near the Oregon Historic District, were developed with the help of about $1.9 million in tax credits that the state awarded in late 2014.

The lofts building, formerly a plumbing supply business, has 40 apartments and ground floor retail space. Troll Pub, which opened in the ground floor of the industrial facility, is a restaurant and bar that officially opened on St. Patrick’s Day.

Weyland Ventures has proposed creating a vibrant district called Oregon East that extends the Oregon District east of Wayne Avenue.

The 20-year plan would be a blend of adaptive reuse and new construction, including new apartments, owner-occupied housing, entertainment, offices and restaurants, Weyland said.

“We want to create a dense, urban neighborhood that extends the vitality of the Oregon District and creates a mixed-use district,” Weyland said.

Another tax credit request was submitted by the ownership of the Fidelity building, which is located at 211 S. Main St. The Fidelity project, which has requested $5 million funding from the state, asked for the same amount in past rounds but was denied.

In the last round, the group asked for credits to rehab the 11-story structure, which has been vacant since 2009. The group has proposed spending more than $20 million to create about 94 residential units and ground-floor retail space.

Dayton has a mixed record with state historic tax credit projects.

Tax credits helped fiance the overhaul of a commercial building next to Fifth Third Field into 133 apartments called the Delco Lofts. Lock 27 Brewing opened in a renovated space on the ground floor of the structure. The Steam Plant at 617 E. Third St. was renovated into offices and an event space using tax credits.

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

Also, the group redeveloping the Dayton Arcade say historic preservation incentives are essential pieces of their financing package.

But the developers of the Fire Blocks District won nearly $4.5 million in state historic tax credits in June 2016 to help fund the restoration of two buildings.

The project, however, is at risk of having those credits rescinded by the state unless the development team can prove they have financing for the project by the end of June.

The Centre City building at 40 S. Main St. was awarded $5 million in credits in December 2016 to create housing and retail. There has not, however, been obvious work done at the property.

The developer has not returned repeated requests for comment. A past owner of the building obtained tax credits but returned them to the state after the project did not move forward.

Other local project proposals that won awards failed to gain traction and forfeited their tax credit awards.

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