Arcade developers, 2 others want to transform former newspaper site

The developers of the Dayton Arcade are one of three groups that are vying to re-imagine most of the former Dayton Daily News property in downtown, where a recent proposal to create new housing failed.

The city of Dayton owns nearly 1.9 acres of vacant land along the 100 block of West Fourth Street, which city officials want to see transformed into a “signature” development that enhances the expected revival of the Dayton Arcade, which sits across the street.

Two months ago, the city issued a request for qualifications from experienced developers to partner on a redevelopment effort, and responses were due at 3 p.m. Friday.

The companies that formally have expressed interest in pursuing a project are Miller-Valentine Group and Cross Street Partners, who propose revitalizing the Arcade; Annex Student Living in Indianapolis, Ind.; and Flaherty & Collins Properties, also from Indianapolis.

“While we still have a lot of reviewing to do — we are grateful to have received responses for three proven entities,” said Tony Kroeger, city of Dayton planner.

RELATED: City now owns former Dayton Daily site, plans redevelopment

The properties along Fourth Street between South Ludlow and Wilkinson streets today are primarily grassy fields. But previously, they were home to the newer sections of the Dayton Daily News facility, the Schwind hotel building and a parking lot.

The buildings were knocked down to make way for a housing project aimed at Sinclair Community College students that eventually unraveled.

The city now is working to find a firm to help transform the property. The three responses will be reviewed by staff in coming weeks.

The most notable applicant is Miller-Valentine and Cross Street Partners, which have teamed up on a $80 million project to revitalize most of the Dayton Arcade buildings.

The firms say the Arcade project will be a catalyst that fuels a large-scale resurgence of downtown that creates a new urban neighborhood featuring plenty of new housing and businesses.

Flaherty & Collins is no stranger to large and ambitious projects.

The firm said has it has completed more than $2 billion in development, with $500 million in the the pipeline.

RELATED: Future path unclear on stalled downtown housing project

The firm says it manages nearly 100 properties, and more than 14,000 housing units, in a dozen U.S. states. The firm is behind 4th & Race, a luxury apartment tower in Cincinnati offering 264 upscale units.

Annex Student Living is a student-housing developer with a portfolio worth in excess of $100 million.

The firm has more than a dozen student living developments, primarily situated in Indiana, but also located in five other states, including Ohio.

City officials stressed that the number of responses were irrelevant, and that the quality of applicants is what is truly important.

In its request for qualifications, the city asked respondents to describe how they planned to create activated first-floor spaces at the site, such as retail, restaurant and other commercial uses.

RELATED: City looks to buy part of former newspaper site

The city requested that proposals take design cues from surrounding buildings, create pedestrian-friendly walkways and place parking below or above grade.

The city also wants a high-density development. A primarily residential project needs to have at least 75 housing units per acre, and the buildings must be at least four-stories tall. About two-thirds of the site should be occupied by buildings.

Firms also were asked to explain how they would incorporate into their plans the historic 1908 Dayton newspaper building at the northwest corner of South Ludlow and West Fourth streets.

The building is owned by Steve R. Rauch Inc., who has listed it for sale online for about $950,000.

The property contains a deed restriction that requires the owner to seek permission from Cox Media Group Ohio Inc. — the company that owns the Dayton Daily News — to make any permanent alterations to the exterior of the historic structure.

Steve Rauch, a demolition contractor, sold several parcels along South Ludlow, South Wilkinson and West Fourth streets to the city of Dayton after winning them as part of a settlement with Missouri-based Student Suites.

Student Suites planned to build housing aimed primarily at Sinclair Community College students, but the project unraveled and Rauch sued the company for unpaid demolition costs.

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