Residents, businesses finally filling in Webster Station, Tech Town

A few years ago, Tech Town felt isolated from downtown and could not find tenants for one of its three buildings.

But Tech Town’s campus is now 90 percent occupied and has new neighbors, including the Water Street District and BarryStaff, which have brought new residents and jobs to the Webster Station neighborhood.

“We’re getting energy from folks coming downtown, and we feel like we are now in the path of development,” said Steve Nutt, senior vice president of CityWide Development Corp., which oversees Tech Town.

Some projects planned or underway seek to capitalize on the growth in residents and businesses in the greater downtown area, and attract still more newcomers.

Developers of the Water Street Apartments nearby will add more apartments, new hotel rooms and other spaces.

The new owners of a building at 804 E. Monument Ave. have modified their redevelopment plans for indoor storage to add office and leisure spaces to meet what they say is growing demand for these services.

Recently, Deloitte Consulting announced it is moving into Tech Town from its home in the Workflow One building along Patterson Boulevard near Fifth Third Field.

With that announcement, about 107,000 square feet of space have been leased in Tech Town’s three buildings. About 12,000 square feet of space remains.

Tech Town is located along Monument Avenue, east of Webster Street.

Getting to this point has been a journey that had plenty of hitches along the way.

Tech Town Building 3, finished in the fall of 2011, had no tenants two years later.

However, the offices filled up as the popularity of living or working downtown gained steam. Now, 51,380 square feet of the building is occupied, leaving less than 6,040 square feet available for lease.

The Tech Town campus is now home to more than 30 companies and 400 jobs.

If Tech Town was once a lonely island, it is no longer.

In 2015, BarryStaff opened its new, $1.5 million headquarters at 230 Webster St., across the street, after outgrowing its home near the Greater Dayton RTA bus hub.

Up the road, the $45 million Water Street District has brought 215 apartments to a stretch of land along the river and bike path.

An office building in the Water Street district is full and offers banking, dining, exercise and other services. A hotel is planned next door, and more apartments are expected to open next year.

That five-story building will still have storage on floors two to four, as well as some space in the basement for car or motorcycle storage. More than 200 storage units are expected to be installed by the end of February.

But now, the owners are courting people and companies to lease renovated office space, and they plan to open a coffee shop and WiFi lounge area on the ground floor and possibly a deli and wine bar.

The building is next door to the Entrepreneurs Center building which houses small, start-up businesses. It is also across the street from Tech Town’s newer buildings and is a short walk from the Water Street District. The investors hope the location will be a major draw.

Plans for 304 E. Monument have evolved after discussions with city leaders and other community members about the vision for and needs of downtown, said Jeff Mohlman, one of the investors with Westward Success, which owns the building.

“This area is a big part of the plans for downtown,” Mohlman said.

The group plans to invest at least $1.5 million into the property — maybe even closer to $2 million, he said.

Five people are leasing office space in the 93,000-square-foot building, including a real estate agent, insurance agent and financial adviser, Mohlman said. More tenants are being sought for spaces that range from 325 to 1,080 square feet.

The storage units are aimed foremost at downtown residents, because a growing number of people are moving to the urban core, many of whom have downsized to purchase townhouses and condos that lack sufficient storage, Mohlman said.

The warehouse previously provided document storage. It has large interior pillars, brick walls and concrete floors.

Mohlman would not publicly share plans for the building’s fifth floor, but said it would add special value to downtown.

The greater Tech Town area, situated in Webster Station, is becoming a hot spot for technology and creative workers, and the local real estate market is heating up, said Nutt, with CityWide.

“As more folks move in, there will be more critical mass of people both working and living there, so there will be a lot more amenities that will follow,” Nutt said. “Downtown is growing in our direction.”

More buildings will come to Tech Town, and unlike the first three structures, they likely will be built by private developers with tenants lined up instead of on speculation that demand will arrive later, Nutt said.

Other projects in play include the Delco loft apartments, which are being constructed next to Fifth Third Field by the Water Street developers, and the Brownstones at 2nd, which is Charles Simms Development’s new town homes.

Activity in the area has the region's park district, Five Rivers MetroParks, exploring whether to expand the hours and days of operation of the 2nd Street Market, a nearby collection of food and gift vendors that is open Thursdays through Saturdays.

Continuing coverage
This newspaper has provided extensive coverge of redevelopment downtown, which city and elected leaders hope will reinvent the urban core into a lively destination where people live, work and play. Tech Town was developed to help attract and grow high-tech businessness and start-ups, which are viewed as an important driver of urban renewal. 
By the numbers

107,000: Square footage leased

30+ : Number of tenants

400+:  Total number of jobs

2009Year Tech Town opened

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