The space designated in the Austin West master plan as a 27,000 square feet “meeting/events center” in on the southern part of the property. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Blizzard, Nick (CMG-Dayton)
Photo: Blizzard, Nick (CMG-Dayton)

Township: Austin plan timing, criticism to Dayton Convention Center tax plan unrelated

Convention space is part of a plan for prime undeveloped land off the Interstate 75 in Miami Twp., where officials have criticized a proposed lodging tax to save the Dayton Convention Center.

An unapproved master plan for about 40 acres of Miami Twp.-owned land at the Austin Boulevard interchange shows “the possibility of some type of meeting or convention space,” a developer working with the township told trustees this week.

The township, however, said the timing of the proposal as it relates to the lodging tax issue is coincidental, despite the recent contention that two trustees’ opposition on how to fund renovations for the Dayton Convention Center were influenced by the plan for the township’s land.

“What they presented to us is just their current ideas of what they’d like to market,” Township spokeswoman Jill Drury said Friday.

EARLIER: Suburbs question need for tax bailout for Dayton Convention Center

“This is just a proposal that was brought to the board of trustees,” she added. “There’s nothing finalized.”

The facility would be located near a hotel as part of a 25-acre mixed use development – called Austin West — that Dillin LLC President Larry Dillin said he would like to start marketing soon.

“We show the possibility of some type of meeting or convention space,” Dillin LLC Project Manager Rob Smith told trustees Tuesday. “We believe there’s a real market for that in the south Dayton area. At least in this (version) plan we see this as being part of the hotel component with an additional parking field necessary to complement that.”

Early plans for Austin West, proposed for the southwest quadrant of the interchange, indicate a 27,000-square-foot “meeting/events center,” records show.

“We don’t know what will ultimately go into that space,” Drury said. “I don’t think we’re talking about a convention center. I think it’s just going to be a meeting space.”

RELATED: Dayton should let ‘convention center die,’ area politician says

The Dayton Convention Center has 150,000 square feet of exhibition space, according to the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

The lodging tax hike proposal was among the recommendations made to the city of Dayton by the Dayton Convention Center Task Force. It’s co-chair, Dayton chamber President and CEO Phillip Parker, suggested after Miami Twp. Trustee Don Culp’s criticism of the lodging tax hike plan that Culp’s opposition was colored by plans for Austin West.

Attempts to reach Parker on Friday were unsuccessful.

Miami Twp. and Butler Twp. account for about half of the lodging rooms in the county, officials said. Trustees in both townships were among the suburban officials in Montgomery County questioning a plan to a create a path for a 3 percent county lodging tax hike to fund renovations to the downtown convention center. The current countywide tax is 3 percent.

The proposal involves a provision in the recently approved state budget bill that allows the county commission to create a regional authority to oversee the downtown convention center, now owned by Dayton.

The created authority would have a limited ability to increase the bed tax, according to the budget bill provision.

Culp said there was no communication with his jurisdiction for a proposal he said would create more taxes in his community without it seeing a direct benefit.

EARLIER: Dayton mayor sorry for excluding others in convention center tax plan

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley apologized about the lack of communication about the the bed tax hike plan, said she talked with Culp and that she would advocate for county communities with a sizeable amount of hotel/motel to have a voice on any convention facility authority.

Whaley did not respond to messages in time for this article.

A few days after Culp blasted the tax hike plan, Miami Twp. Trustee John Morris wrote as part of a submission to this news organization:

“They believe if they pump millions of dollars into their failed convention center that they will bring the era of thriving regional conventions back from the dead.”

While not specifically mentioning the Austin West proposal, a statement from Miami Twp. Administrator Ron Hess was then released. It read in part: “This tax creates an added burden to the hospitality enterprises found in Miami Twp. and throughout Montgomery County. It also puts the growth of Austin Landing at increased risk with no added benefit.”

Drury said the township has been looking to develop the land off Austin Boulevard for several years and officials are happy with the progress with Dillin’s plan.

-MORE COVERAGE ON THIS ISSUE:

RELATED: Trustees blast county hotel tax hike plan for Dayton Convention Center

RELATED: Hotel bed tax could help save Dayton Convention Center

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