Construction on the first piece of a $36 million riverfront development is scheduled to begin in November after the city of Dayton Plan Board unanimously approved the project Tuesday.
That first piece is a 50,000-square-foot office and restaurant building along the Great Miami River just east of Patterson Boulevard, with an outdoor dining area overlooking the river.
Jason Woodard, principal at Woodard Real Estate Resources, said Tuesday he expects to approve a lease with an anchor office tenant in the next two weeks, but declined to name that tenant.
The Plan Board’s vote Tuesday did two things — it gave Woodard and co-developer Crawford Hoying the go-ahead to start the office building, but it also gave conceptual approval for a second office building, a 480-space parking garage and 360 apartment units to be built east all the way to Webster Street.
Developers will have to get “site design” approval from the Plan Board for those next steps. Woodard said he expects to be back with an application in a few months, with a target of starting construction on the garage and first two apartment buildings (161 units) in March 2014.
Woodard’s timetable called for the office and restaurant building to be open in fall 2014 and the apartments to be ready by summer 2015 at the latest.
Two weeks ago, the Plan Board expressed reservations about the development and tabled a first vote. This time, city officials brought a host of community leaders to speak on behalf of the project — Downtown Dayton Partnership co-chair Mike Ervin, Five Rivers MetroParks Deputy Director Carrie Scarff, business owner Sandy Mendelson, CityWide Development Corp. President Steve Budd and others.
Some of the previous concern was that the project would block views of the river fountains.
Scarff said she feels great ownership of RiverScape, the fountains and the Canal Walk on Patterson, which are MetroParks amenities. But she said MetroParks would hate to sacrifice a huge investment in downtown in favor of the 10 minutes an hour, four months a year that the fountains are actually on.
Plan Board members Jeff Payne and Cynthia Ferguson voted yes despite doubts they said they had about the likelihood the office building would succeed, the impact on other office buildings downtown if it did, and the change in the view from Patterson, given the investment the city made there. But board member Richard Wright thanked city leaders for a more comprehensive presentation than he saw Sept. 3, showing the united community support for the project.