Three projects could refresh Dayton neighborhoods

Three development projects less than a mile apart are a hopeful sign for a couple of Dayton neighborhoods that have struggled with disinvestment and job and population losses.

“I think these projects could help people rethink West Dayton,” said Tim Kambitsch, executive director of the Dayton Metro Library. “Some people have lost faith but these investments should give people optimism.”

The projects include:

• An out-of-state investment firm has nearly completed a multi-million dollar renovation of a large, vacant facility on the former McCall printing campus and is in talks with potential tenants.

• An Ohio company proposes investing more than $10 million to construct a new distribution facility in the Westview Industrial Park, which also is home to the McCall building.

• And the Dayton Metro Library is making progress to design the new West Branch Library, which is expected to be part of a major redevelopment of a long-dormant site.

NEW HOPE: $1.5M project could revitalize West Dayton vacant building, add 100 jobs

In August 2016, the city of Dayton agreed to sell roughly 24 acres of property along McCall Street to a company owned by Wisconsin-based Phoenix Investors.

Phoenix Investors paid $300,000 for vacant land and a 354,000-square-foot facility in the Westview Industrial Park that was part of the McCall printing campus.

Built in 1960, the facility heavily deteriorated because of neglect and vandalism and has been vacant since 2010. The building, in the Miami Chapel neighborhood, most recently was used as a steel warehouse and distribution center.

The McCall printing plant used to be one of the city’s largest employment sites, but the printing facilities closed and became an eyesore after years of disuse and neglect.

In 2001, the city helped demolish as much of 1 million square feet of the printing plant. Phoenix Investors purchased the property and warehouse building to renovate to attract new tenants.

The renovation is in the final stages and should be completed within the next 30 days, said Patrick Dedering, Phoenix Investor’s senior vice president of acquisition and leasing.

Phoenix has invested “considerably more” than the $1.5 million it originally expected to spend on improvements, he said.

“There’s been a lot of demo, a lot of paint, a lot of clean-up,” Dedering said. “We are ready for occupancy.”

There’s been good interest in the property, and Phoenix is in talks with two potential end users, who could occupy around three-fourths of the facility, he said.

The building is promising for industrial uses like warehousing and manufacturing, especially given that the facility has rail, loading docks and crane infrastructure, Dedering said.

Phoenix Investors also is exploring options for the remaining vacant land it owns in the Westview Industrial Park. One idea is to build a new facility on the property, Dedering said.

MORE: West Dayton site gets new investment

The city of Dayton owns other vacant land in the Westview Industrial Park, on the south side of McCall Street.

This week, this newspaper learned that the city is seeking about $400,000 in Montgomery County ED/GE (Economic Development/Government Equity) funds for a project at 2100 McCall St.

The land was once home to NIBCO foundry, which the city demolished in early 2000 to help create the industrial park.

The proposed “Project Nemo” is a new distribution facility for an Ohio company that would employ about 50 people. More details about the project were not available at this time.

MORE: Companies offering 359 new jobs ask for development money

Less than a mile from the industrial park is the 54-acre former Delphi Home Avenue property, which is home to the original Wright brothers airplane factory buildings.

The Dayton Metro Library plans to invest about $10 million to build its new West Branch on vacant land on the property, near U.S. 35 and Abbey Avenue.

The library has signed a letter of intent with the city of Dayton so it can access the site and test the soils, and the preliminary results have been encouraging, said Kambitsch, the library system’s executive director.

The city last year purchased the 54-acre Delphi site for $1 million.

The Dayton Metro Library on Thursday night hosted a design forum to get feedback from community members about what they would like to see at the new West Branch.

The design process will last until early 2020, and construction on the project will take about a year, Kambitsch said.

New investments near the Delphi property will build momentum for the new library and National Park Service project, he said.

The plan is to make the historic Wright brothers factory buildings part of the national parks and redevelop the rest of the site into uses like tech, offices and maybe light industrial.

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