The pieces are coming together for a multi-million-dollar commercial and residential development on the site of what was once a public housing project on Warren Street on Dayton’s south side.
Developer Greater Dayton Construction Group is finalizing plans and lining up financing for the initial phase of the project, which is slated to begin this fall.
The project is called The Flats at South Park. Plans were unveiled earlier this week to South Park neighborhood residents.
Bill Hibner, director of construction services for the developer, said the plan is to within five years create an assembly of two-story town homes, single-family cottages, apartments and retail shops on nine acres, beginning with the corner of Burns and Warren streets.
The land, split by Nathan Place, currently is a vacant field with the exception of a community garden, but the development promises hundreds of new residents. At one time the Cliburn Manor public housing project was there. It was demolished in 2008 and the property was cleared.
The land is owned by CityWide Development, the city of Dayton’s economic development arm. CityWide president Steve Budd said the land would be sold in stages as part of a development agreement with Greater Dayton Construction.
Budd said the first phase should start Sept. 1. It would include 13,000 square feet of commercial space for between five and 10 businesses and 50 rental units, costing an estimated $9 million to build.
It could be ready for occupancy by June 2016. Businesses could create up to 40 full-time jobs for the shops. The pace of the development would be driven by demand, Hibner said.
The developer is targeting professionals and graduate students with monthly rents from $800 to $1,200.
South Park residents did express some suggestions for the project, including a desire for a more eclectic look that is consistent with the neighborhood. They also expressed concerns about how much the density of the development would affect traffic.
Jim Gagnet, owner of Coco’s Bistro and a neighborhood resident who is rehabbing nearby homes, is thrilled by the project.
“I love it,” he said while at work on a historic home across Burns Avenue from the where The Flats would be build.
“The way I look at it, five years ago we had a drug-infested, crime-infested apartment complex there. To go from that to this is just a miracle.”
Greater Dayton Construction also is building housing units for the University of Dayton. Its owner, Greg Thompson, also is part of Oberer Thompson Company.
It has been involved in other ventures including the Genesis Project, the redevelopment of the neighborhood adjacent to Miami Valley Hospital.
The project is another step in the Greater Downtown Plan, which aims to create 8,000 jobs and 2,500 housing units by 2020. The project is eligible for property tax abatements. It must undergo approval by the Dayton City Commission, including rezoning.
The area of Patterson, South Main and Warren streets just south of U.S. 35 has experienced a rebirth in the past five years. Goodwill recently finished its new headquarters and the Marvin Gardens apartment complex was renovated with $1.85 million in federal and nonprofit grants. Miami Valley Hospital also expanded and new condos have been built nearby.
Up the street from the proposed Flats, Jimmie Brandell renovated a 120-year-old firehouse, opening a popular restaurant and bar dubbed Jimmie’s Ladder 11.
Main Street currently is being rebuilt and widened and Warren Street improvements are planned.