The vision for Dayton’s Tech Town has shifted from a suburban-type office park to a development that tries to capitalize on its urban setting with new amenities that appeal to young creative professionals.
Future buildings on the Tech Town campus could have a restaurant, drinking establishments or retail space on the ground floor, and a new project seeks to better connect the campus and surrounding area with the Mad River and bike paths.
The campus originally was intended to be a suburban-style business park with offices only, but an updated master plan calls for a more urban, mixed-use approach to redevelopment that seeks to encourage pedestrian activity, said Steve Nutt, senior vice president of CityWide Development, which oversees Tech Town.
“Young workers today don’t want to be in a suburban-style campus,” Nutt said. “They want to be in an exciting environment, where they can walk out their door, grab a beer, grab a coffee, grab lunch, without having to get in their car.”
Tech Town, located at East Monument Avenue and Webster Street, has three buildings housing tech and other cutting-edge firms. The first building, the Entrepreneurs Center, opened in September 2000. The third and newest building opened in 2011.
Tech Town is now 97 percent occupied, and the plan has always been to open 10 or 15 buildings on the campus. The main Tech Town site is about 24 acres.
Next month, work is expected to begin on what’s been called the Webster Station Landing project, which will re-slope the levee just north of the Tech Town campus.
The roughly $1 million project is fully funded. It was awarded $250,000 in state capital funding. The Miami Conservancy District is providing a significant amount of in-kind support by doing the work.
About 850 feet of the levee will be redone to create a more gradual slope from the Mad River Recreation Trail, said Don O’Connor, assistant chief engineer with Miami Conservancy District.
The project will create two new bikeway ramps and paved paths that connect the recreation trail with the top of the levee, O’Connor said.
The levee top will be graded so a bike path can be constructed that links up with one that runs in front of the Water Street Flats apartments and leads to RiverScape MetroPark.
“It’ll make maintenance easier, but also it will improve river access, which is the shared goal of all the partners on this project,” O’Connor said.
The project also will make the levee more attractive with clean lines and new grass, he said.
“We’re very interested in promoting recreational use of the river corridors, whether that’s walking, that’s biking, that’s canoeing, that’s kayaking,” O’Connor said.
Nutt said officials are raising funds for a second phase of the project to create an open space at the top of the levee, with walkways, bikeways and possibly benches.
The empty property around the green space will be targeted for redevelopment. New buildings would have river views with a goal of attracting some new amenities, like restaurants, brew pubs or recreational retail, he said. The upper stories would be office space.
The levee work and bikeway additions are intended to improve riverfront connections and access and help boost Tech Town’s appeal, officials said.
The plan was always to have a mix of uses around the Tech Town campus, but now that’s changed to bring them into the campus, Nutt said.