Vacant Dayton property may become upscale offices, posh party space

Redevelopment of a cluster of abandoned and deteriorating commercial buildings in downtown Dayton continues to spread.

John Riazzi, the principal of the Oakwood financial firm Riazzi Asset Management, plans to spend more than $3.7 million to redevelop the former Dayton Power & Light steam plant at 617 E. Third St. near the Cannery Lofts into two and a half floors of stylish, modern office space.

His firm’s four employees expect to relocate to the facility by fall, and Riazzi is also looking at allowing the public to rent out the grand hall and other parts of the property for special events, such as weddings and posh gatherings.

The project marks the most recent in a string of efforts to redevelop a section of Dayton that has struggled for years.

Just a few blocks away, the Brownstones at 2nd are being constructed, and the first units are already online. A little farther north, the Water Street Flats are under construction and about 215 apartments should be open by the end of the year.

The Dayton Beer Company, also located a couple blocks away, opened last year and expanded not long after that. The former Delco building is being turned into apartments. The main Dayton Metro Library facility, just west on Third Street, is getting a $60 million makeover. The Cannery has attracted new tenants to its commercial space on the ground floor.

Riazzi said he hopes his renovation project will result in new interest in some of the other empty commercial buildings nearby.

“It really is a unique property … and there isn’t anything like it that I’m aware of downtown,” Riazzi said.

The DP&L building has been vacant for more than 20 years and its broken windows and crumbling facade contributed to disinvestment in that area, said Amy Walbridge, the city of Dayton’s special projects administrator.

But she said the DP&L plant project could attract other kinds of commercial activity that makes the Third Street corridor more vibrant.

“We don’t build buildings like this anymore,” she said. “We have pockets of development, but we need to tie it all together.”

The renovation project could be among the first completed using state historic tax credits.

In December, the state awarded the DP&L steam plant $687,500 in state historic preservation tax credits for a $3.7 million renovation project. The project will also receive federal historic tax credits.

Riazzi said his firm and the architectural firm MODA4 Design will occupy the long-vacant steam plant once rehabilitation is complete. Riazzi’s firm has called Oakwood home for nearly nine years.

The development plan — which is not finalized —calls for constructing a kitchen that could be used for catering services, a custom bar, green space and a private outdoor patio.

The DP&L site will be reconfigured to provide parking in the back as well as outdoor plaza space.

A computer-generated model of the exterior of the property shows a beautifully landscaped area enclosed by rod iron gates.

<<< MORE: Take a 3-D tour of the proposed plans >>>

There will be a garden area, ornamental and decorative lights and a patio connected to a main hall.

The hall features high-vaulted ceilings, exposed brick and large key-hole windows, Riazzi said. The grand hall could feature a custom bar.

The development plan also includes constructing locker rooms and a spacious work out area on the lower level for office workers.

About the Author