Millions to be spent in West Dayton raise hope for future growth

The Wright Dunbar Historic Business District on West Third Street is being looked at for several developments.
The Wright Dunbar Historic Business District on West Third Street is being looked at for several developments.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Millions of dollars in new investment for multiple proposed projects in West Dayton are raising hopes that new jobs and amenities could follow in a part of the city that struggled economically in recent years.

The $12 million Dayton Metro Library West Branch will begin construction in a couple of weeks, and city and library officials think it will begin to transform the vacant Wright brothers airplane factory site.

But officials also hope other parts of the west side could dramatically change because of plans for new housing, commercial spaces and an $11 million processing facility that could employ more than 100 people.

“I think we’re going to transform West Dayton,” said Dayton City Commissioner Chris Shaw.

The official groundbreaking for the new West Branch library takes place on Oct. 15.

The new library, which will consolidate two existing branches, will be constructed at the northeast corner of U.S. 35 and Abbey Avenue. The library awarded Robertson Construction the West Branch contract in August, and equipment and other materials started arriving on the site last week.

New Dayton metro library west branch / CONTRIBUTED
New Dayton metro library west branch / CONTRIBUTED

The state-of-the-art facility will link together neighborhoods that are separated by U.S. 35 and an industrial zone that has been mostly vacant for decades, said Tim Kambitsch, executive director of the Dayton Metro Library.

“The neighborhoods served by this branch have been the most challenged economically, and the expanded support we can give to residents from this new facility is needed more now than ever,” he said.

Construction equipment at work at Abbey Avenue and U.S. 35. The Dayton Metro Library is constructing its new West Branch library on the site, part of the former Delphi property. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
Construction equipment at work at Abbey Avenue and U.S. 35. The Dayton Metro Library is constructing its new West Branch library on the site, part of the former Delphi property. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The library will be an anchor of the 34-acre Wright brothers company factory site, which is also the former Delphi property.

The redevelopment of the site seeks to create a lively, pedestrian-friendly urban center for the neighborhood, and a planned rezoning will allow for a mix of new uses, such as offices and commercial spaces, said Susan Vincent, city of Dayton planner.

The city, which owns the property, is seeking development partners for projects that would complement the new library and the National Park Service’s plans to restore the historic airplane factory buildings.

Libraries spark thriving communities, and only about one-third of the old Delphi site is spoken for, which means there is tremendous potential and opportunity for other kinds of compatible uses, Kambitsch said.

Project Nemo

A local company is considering spending nearly as much as the $12 million library development on an industrial project nearby.

“Project Nemo” is an expansion project of a Dayton-based company that wants to construct a new processing and distribution facility at 2100 McCall St., said Veronica Morris, the West Dayton development coordinator.

A company wants to build a new 50,000-square-foot facility at 2100 McCall St. in the Miami Chapel neighborhood. The facility could employ 125 people. CONTRIBUTED
A company wants to build a new 50,000-square-foot facility at 2100 McCall St. in the Miami Chapel neighborhood. The facility could employ 125 people. CONTRIBUTED

Some competitive projects still in development are given code names until they are closer to fruition.

The new facility would be about 50,000 square feet and cost about $11 million, Morris said.

The large, vacant property is located in the Westview industrial park in the Miami Chapel area, about one mile from the library construction site.

The project could create about 125 new, low-skilled jobs geared toward West Dayton residents, Morris said. Earlier reporting suggested the project might add about 50 jobs.

The project has received a commitment of about $300,000 from the West Dayton Development Trust Fund and another $300,000 from the Montgomery County ED/GE program, officials said.

The city is working to finalize the agreements to approve the funding, as well as the transfer the property, Morris said.

“We’re glad that in spite of COVID, this project continues to go forward and the company is excited to keep it moving,” she said.

Wright Dunbar

The Wright Dunbar Historic Business District on West Third Street is less than 1.5 miles from the new library and the Project Nemo sites.

The business district, home to more than two dozen businesses, has made the news a lot lately because of a series of new redevelopment projects.

A rendering of San Marco Dayton LLC’s plans for a former car dealership building in the Wright Dunbar area on West Third Street. CONTRIBUTED.
A rendering of San Marco Dayton LLC’s plans for a former car dealership building in the Wright Dunbar area on West Third Street. CONTRIBUTED.

San Marcos LLC, a company formed by a group of mostly local investors, wants to renovate the former westside Chevy building to create dozens ― possibly 60 to 75 ― market-rate rental units and ground-floor retail space.

The developer has completed a market analysis and architectural plan for the building, located at 718 W. Third St., according to city staff.

The development group has proposed adding about three extra floors to the two-story brick building.

A few blocks west, a group wants to open a new food hall and coffee bar called W. Social at 1100 W. Third St.

A group wants to bring a new food hall called W. Social to 1100 W. Third St. in the Wright Dunbar business district. CONTRIBUTED
A group wants to bring a new food hall called W. Social to 1100 W. Third St. in the Wright Dunbar business district. CONTRIBUTED

W. Social has submitted plans to the city that are under review for permits, and construction should begin this year, said Erica Hubler, director of real estate with Wright Dunbar Inc.

Hubler said the planned entrepreneurial food hall and coffee bar could open in spring of 2021.

“We have momentum,” Hubler said. “Wright Dunbar Historic Business District is on track to being the next big destination in Dayton.”

Chase has signed a long-term lease with the new owner of the Chase Bank building at 1158 W. Third St., Hubler said.

An interior rendering of W. Social, a food hall planned for 1100 W. Third St. CONTRIBUTED
An interior rendering of W. Social, a food hall planned for 1100 W. Third St. CONTRIBUTED

The owner is working with a local architect to reactivate the second floor of the building to create new offices, which would be the the first time it has been used since the 1950s, Hubler said.

Additionally, the president and CEO of Grind House Coffee & Tea Company announced plans for a new coffee shop at 1000 W. Third St., and the building’s owner has talked about creating condos on the upper floors.

“I think people are beginning to see the potential of Wright Dunbar,” said Jeff Jackson, president of the Wright Dunbar Village Neighborhood Association. “It’s very promising that developers are coming to this side of town.”

ExploreMillions will fund West Dayton development; Here’s what to expect
ExploreProject Nemo and other ED/GE projects

In Other News