Investment breathes new life into unique Dayton artists’ space


A complex of historic Dayton industrial buildings is proving to be a haven for local artists, even as it gets a new lease on life.

The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority Board of Trustees last month approved a $300,000 loan to the company overseeing the Front Street buildings, a commercial complex that bills itself as “the largest community of artists and artisans in the Dayton area.”

“It’s just a very eclectic community,” said Krysten Smith, who helps manage the trio of buildings straddling East Second and Front streets. “There’s a whole variety of different types of art that we do here — from painters to sculptors, jewelers to woodworkers, screening printers, photographers.”

The Port Authority’s loan will cover just over half of the expected $510,077 cost of replacing a 45-year-old heating boiler for the complex at 1001 E. Second St. Citywide Development, the city of Dayton’s private development arm, is expected to cover the rest, Brad Evers, port authority counsel, said recently.

Chris Meyer, account manager for Tipp City’s Energy Optimizers USA, approached the Port Authority for the financial help.

The old steam boiler required full-time oversight by an engineer when it was operated, mostly in and around business hours between November and April. Continuing that oversight, and continuing to fix the boiler, was too expensive an option.

“They had a room with an open window in the brick, so they (the monitoring engineer) could look in,” Meyer said.

The area is known for open-air art studios and outdoor markets. Stroll through the red brick structures, and it’s easy to see how unique it is. Tall windows give painters’ studios plenty of light. Eighteen-foot-high ceilings hover overhead. A cargo elevator doesn’t quite look like it will move — until it does.

“You go over there, and you see this space has an interesting feel to it,” Port Authority Executive Director Jerry Brunswick said.

Meyer said the investment is being structured as a PACE project, where the cost of new energy equipment is repaid for up to 20 years via an assessment added to a property’s tax bill.

The new heating units are on order and are expected to be delivered before Christmas, Meyer said. They will be installed after winter.

Built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, much of the complex once was a paper mill, the former home of International Envelope. The building is owned by Front Street Building LLC, a company formed by Zimmel and Katherine Miller in 2001. Zimmel Miller, who worked in construction and real estate, died in 2006 at 87.

The buildings are full, and there’s a waiting list of would-be tenants.

“It’s 100 percent full, which is an amazing thing in Dayton,” Meyer said. “Not only that, she has a waiting list.”

Plenty of prospective tenants are “amazed” at the what they see on Front Street, Smith said.

“That’s really what we’re trying to do — just get that word out there, to get everybody to see what the hidden gem in the Gem City is,” she said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Moldy comforter among latest product recalls
Moldy comforter among latest product recalls

The latest product recalls include a potentially moldy comforter, an unstable bassinette, and snow globes that could potentially cause a fire, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.    The Hudson comforters by UGG under recall were sold at Bed Bath & Beyond and may contain mold which could pose a risk of infection or respiratory...
Amazon raises price of Amazon Prime monthly memberships
Amazon raises price of Amazon Prime monthly memberships

Amazon Prime memberships are about to get more expensive. The online retail giant announced today that the Amazon Prime monthly fee is increasing from $10.99 to $12.99 in the U.S., an increase of 18 percent. That’s approximately $156 annually. However, the annual Prime membership will stay at $99. “Prime provides an unparalleled combination...
Gander Mountain stores to reopen under new name
Gander Mountain stores to reopen under new name

Gander Outdoors, formerly known as Gander Mountain, announced an initial list of retail stores that are scheduled to open in 2018. Camping World Holdings Inc. was chosen as the winning bidder at a bankruptcy auction for certain acquired assets of Gander Mountain and the sale was approved in a bankruptcy court hearing in May 2017. Dozens of Gander...
Manufacturing wins help push Ohio jobless rate down
Manufacturing wins help push Ohio jobless rate down

Gains in manufacturing jobs helped push Ohio’s unemployment rate down a tick last month, to 4.7 percent, down from 4.8 percent the month before. Ohio’s non-agricultural wage and salary jobs increased by 2,500 over the month, from a revised 5,539,700 in November to 5,542,200 in December 2017, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services...
Meet the most generous book lover in Yellow Springs
Meet the most generous book lover in Yellow Springs

Countless books of the odd and unexpected varieties are in the hands of many people who have visited Yellow Springs, thanks to Kate Mooneyham.  >> 5 things to do in Yellow Springs Mooneyham, manager of Dark Star Books in Yellow Springs, has been consistently placing a large box of FREE books in the alley behind her and her mother&rsquo...
More Stories