Wright-Dunbar neighborhood to get more apartments

Eight new affordable apartments are coming to a vacant building in the Wright Dunbar Village neighborhood by early 2016, adding to the housing options in the historic business corridor.

The new units, located on the 1100 block of W. Third St., will build on progress being made to create a walkable, livable, family-oriented neighborhood, said Harry Seifert, chair and president of Wright Dunbar Inc.

“Our mission is to support that and bring back vitality to one of the most important neighborhoods that ring downtown,” he said. “We actually consider it part of downtown.”

Earlier this month, Dayton city commissioners approved distributing $850,000 in federal grant funding to Wright Dunbar Inc. to renovate a vacant building at 1117 W. Third St.

Wright Dunbar Inc., now an all-volunteer nonprofit, currently owns 10 apartments in the Wright-Dunbar Complex, located at Williams and Third streets. The group is a community development organization.

The commission’s action will allow Wright-Dunbar Inc. to complete the last section of the complex, said Karen DeMasi, CityWide Development Corp.’s director of community development.

“It also demonstrates their continued commitment to west Dayton,” she said.

Wright Dunbar Inc. has hired CityWide to handle real estate management and development. CityWide will manage the new housing project.

All 10 of the complex’s affordable housing units are leased, and the mix of tenants includes students, medical professionals and artists, DeMasi said.

Many renters are single women, and the project served a growing need for affordable housing in the region, officials said.

The eight new units will be available to households at or below 80 percent of the median area income, according to city documents. Maximum household income for two people will be $39,500. Monthly rents for two-bedroom units will not exceed $726.

Construction is expected to begin by August and wrap up later this year or early next year, Seifert said.

The Wright-Dunbar business district has improved significantly in the past 15 years, and Wright Dunbar Inc. has helped renovate many historic buildings that were falling apart, Seifert said.

Wright Dunbar Inc. owns 11 buildings located in a two-block area between Shannon and Broadway streets, including the buildings with the very visible storefronts.

“It’s a world apart from what it was when Wright Dunbar first got involved,” Seifert said. “We had three or four buildings where the roof was in the basement and the walls were leaning out and about to fall down.”

After the apartments, Wright Dunbar Inc. next expects to turn its focus to developing the Rubenstein Building, which is located across the street.

Zik’s Family Pharmacy occupies about half of the building’s first floor, and the hope is to create medical offices on the second and third floors, or possibly some additional housing, Seifert said.

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