Task force to examine Arcade development potential

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley on Tuesday announced the formation of a task force to evaluate the downtown Arcade complex and provide redevelopment recommendations.

Vacant since 1991, the Arcade was purchased at a sheriff’s tax lien sale in 2009 by private owners who expressed interest in restoring the property and finding an anchor tenant.

But the owners, Gunther Berg and Wendell Strutz, have failed to maintain, improve and secure the Arcade, and they owe $200,000 in delinquent property taxes, city officials said.

The task force will evaluate the Arcade and nine surrounding buildings to determine the complex’s future redevelopment potential, based on its physical condition and attractiveness to investment.

“I know this building has tons of sentimental value in the city and the community, but we have to figure out what’s next for the Arcade and that block,” Whaley said.

Whaley said she hopes to preserve at least some of the buildings’ history while avoiding major financial commitments from the city.

City staff on multiple occasions had to perform emergency repairs on the property to prevent public safety problems, such as a crumbling facade. The city also had to secure the outside of the building and monitor entrance doors to prevent metal scrappers and others from breaking in.

The task force’s recommendation on whether redevelopment is financially feasible will be based on a physical inspection of the buildings as well as feedback from potential developers, city officials said.

If the task force advises removing one or more of the buildings, the city would encourage any potential developers to consider preserving significant architectural elements, officials said. The task force is expected to issue a recommendation by the end of the year.

The task force includes city of Dayton employees, State Rep. Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton, and representatives from CityWide, the Downtown Priority Board, YWCA of Dayton, the Downtown Dayton Partnership, Matrix Realty Group and businesses and financial institutions.

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