What a new hotel would mean for the growing Dayton airport area

Nearly nine years after the closure of the money-losing Dayton Airport Hotel, the city is working to bring a new hotel to airport property.

The Dayton International Airport property already has landed hundreds of new jobs and is home to the fastest-growing regional airline in the nation, city officials said.

The airport wants a new hotel that offers accommodations, conference space and dining or restaurant options to serve travelers, airlines staff and workers at some of the large new developments around the aviation facility, said Terry Slaybaugh, Dayton’s director of aviation.

“We’re excited about it because a market study justifies a hotel; we just need to get some interest in it,” Slaybaugh said.

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This week, the city issued a request for qualifications from firms that want to develop, construct and operate a nationally-branded hotel.

The hotel will be built on the airport property, possibly at a site near the intersection of Terminal Drive and Boeing Drive.

Currently, the closest hotel is a Super 8 by Wyndham, located several miles away on East National Road. There’s a variety of hotels south of the airport on Miller Lane.

The city wants a hotel with roughly 110 to 120 rooms and offers a significant amount of conference space because there’s a lot of opportunities for training and events for the airlines and other local companies, Slaybaugh said.

“We want a brand that’s right for our customers,” he said.

PSA Airlines, the fastest-growing regional airline in the U.S., brings in many pilots and flight attendants who would benefit from having training close to where they are staying, Slaybaugh said. PSA Airlines is headquartered at the Dayton airport.

The airport has been a regional jobs leader because developers are constructing massive new logistics, distribution, warehousing and other industrial facilities on its property.

The companies that have moved or that are planning to move into the buildings have workers spread across the country. Company representatives need lodging when they come visit, officials said.

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The city permanently closed the Dayton Airport Hotel in 2010 after 40 years in operation.

Airport management at the time said that the hotel’s lack of brand affiliation and an elevator were among the reasons it was struggling.

When the hotel closed, it had 106 rooms that had undergone a fairly recent renovation. But the building also had another 48 other rooms that weren’t updated and were considered unrentable.

The city halted and ultimately abandoned a multi-million dollar renovation of the hotel. Airport officials concluded the hotel was a long-term drain on the facility’s revenues and the renovation project would not change that.

“My recollection is that it was pretty obsolete,” said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein. “It was going to require a significant amount of capital investment.”

The city always hoped it could replace the old airport hotel with a new, modern product with expanded amenities, Dickstein said.

The airport lost nearly $224,000 in 2009 because of the hotel operations. The city demolished the hotel building.

But conditions today are far different than they were a decade ago, Dickstein said. The economy is much stronger, and the area around the airport is humming.

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There’s four buildings under development on Dayton airport property that are expected to employ about 1,000 people by the end of the year, officials said.

On Monday, online pet product company Chewy Inc. announced it would bring 600 new jobs to the airport property.

Slaybaugh said there may be another announcement about new jobs and development at the airport soon.

One massive facility (Spectrum Brands) has been completed at the airport, another is nearly complete and two others are under development.

Downtown Dayton earlier this monthy welcomed its first new hotel in decades, and a developer this month announced plans to turn a historic building on North Main Street into a boutique hotel.

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