Welcome to your Tuesday business newsletter, Dayton. There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s get to it.
From (very) advanced manufacturing to an energetic retail and restaurant scene, local entrepreneurs have been keeping our team of reporters busy. This is where we’ll talk trends, changes and analysis of what’s happening in the region.
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We have some big news today, so let’s get to it.
Company pledges up to 2,000 jobs, $500M to build flying cars in Dayton area
Joby Aviation Inc., a much-watched player in the emerging field of electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft — often called “flying cars” — will invest up to $500 million to build an aircraft production operation near Dayton International Airport, the company and the state of Ohio announced Monday.
The plan is historic. Manufacturing this kind of aircraft on this scale has never been attempted, Joby and state officials said.
Construction of the local plant is expected to start next year with operations beginning in 2025.
The site is big enough to allow future growth, with enough space to accommodate a manufacturing complex of up to 2 million square feet.
State and local incentives up to $325 million will be available, and Ohio said the U.S. Department of Energy has invited Joby to apply for a Title XVII loan to support the site as a clean energy project.
‘We like the chances.’ While state and business leaders say the plan is history, they acknowledge a level of risk.
“We have to assume some risks, just as their investors assume some risk,” said J.P. Nauseef, president and chief executive of JobsOhio . “If they’re going to do it, their best chance is in this community.”
The Joby Aviation story
Who is Joby Aviation? Glad you asked.
The field of electric takeoff and landing vehicles may be new, but Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Joby Aviation really isn’t.
The company was founded in 2009 by a small group of engineers working in a “barn” in the mountains of central California.
For the second quarter of 2023, Joby reported a net loss of $286 million, reflecting what the company said was the unfavorable revaluation of derivative liabilities of $181 million and operating expenses.
Why Ohio? But JoeBen Bevirt, Joby’s CEO, said the company was drawn to the Dayton area by its workforce, the proximity to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Toyota’s plant in Georgetown, Ky. Toyota is one of Joby’s biggest investors.
“We’re taking this in a step-by-step progressive way, and we’ve grown the company just as we’re maturing the technology,” Bevirt said in an interview with this newspaper. “We’ve making fantastic progress on the type (aircraft) certification.”
Ribbon cut on National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence
Monday was an historic day.
‘Amazing days’: Beyond Joby’s announcement, civilian and military players greeted the official opening of the The National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport Monday, a location hoped to be a magnet for electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (eVTOL) research and other vehicles used in the realm of advanced air mobility.
“This has been, at least in my career, one of the most amazing days,” said Terry Slaybaugh, JobsOhio vice president of sites and infrastructure and a former director of aviation for the city of Dayton.
Kettering considers land use change for new housing near business corridor
A proposed land use change for a vacant site near a busy Kettering commercial strip would allow new housing, which aligns with the city’s plans, Reporter Nick Blizzard tells us.
It also would make the land at the Woodman Drive and Wilmington Pike split more attractive to potential buyers, which is the owners’ intent, a real estate agent associated with the site said.
Why it matters: Kettering City Council recently considered the rezoning request for the land near Meijer and several restaurants, but did not vote on the issue as per city charter requirements. A decision by council is still expected this month.
Three other attempts to rezone the land failed in the past 10 years after two buildings were demolished, city records show.
Small road extension expected to have big impact on Centerville traffic
A project that will play “a vital role” to the safety of the city of Centerville and the Centerville School District is in the works and should be underway in a few months, Reporter Eric Schwartzberg tells us.
The extension of Dimco Way about 2,000 feet — or a little more than a third of a mile — from Clyo Road to Centerville High School is planned to provide additional access to the school.
Why it matters: It’s expected to provide access at the rear of CHS for emergency personnel, students and staff and add to the efficiency of first responders from Centerville Police Department and Washington Twp. Fire Department.
Reactions to Joby’s announcement poured in Monday. A sampling:
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine: “The aircraft that will roll off Joby Ohio’s production lines will redefine urban transportation and contribute to a transformational change in the way people and goods travel. We welcome Joby and celebrate the new chapter of air mobility history that will be made here in Ohio, the heart of aviation and aerospace.”
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: “Dayton has solidified itself as the center of aviation innovation, from the Wright Brothers to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, but for over 100 years, that innovation has not been successfully translated into the manufacturing of aircraft and the thousands of jobs that come with it. Today, that elusive aspiration becomes reality.”
State Sen. Niraj Antani: “Dayton is the birthplace of aviation, and Joby Aviation’s investment is a continuation of the long history of innovation in the Dayton region. I’m proud to welcome Joby Aviation to our community and look forward to working with them.”
Chris Kershner, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO: “We look forward to connecting our robust workforce, higher ed institutions and supply chain with Joby Ohio and redefining the future of aviation — again. The Dayton region will be the home to the future of electric vehicle manufacturing and now the future of electric aviation manufacturing. The eyes of the world are on Ohio. If you’re not looking at Ohio, you’re missing out.”
Not quite ready to haunt: The Demented Manor, a new haunted attraction with plans to open in Xenia Twp., still needs regulatory approval, but Halloween enthusiast Mike Wherry is optimistic the business will receive the OK, Report Natalie Jones told us.
Dance troupes embrace collaboration, new works in 2023-2024 season: Entering its 86th season, Dayton Ballet ushers in a new era of diverse, generational change with Brandon Ragland as its new artistic director, writer Russell Florence tells us.
UD Brain Collaborative hosting mother, daughter co-authors on traumatic brain injuries: Exploring the mysteries of the brain.
A carousel at Young’s Dairy?: It’s in the works.