Usually this time of year is quiet for the Dayton Development Coalition and area development officers.
Not this year.
As recently as the week before Christmas, Dave Burrows, the coalition’s director of economic development programs, was meeting with companies on new projects.
Burrows believes that says something.
“We think 2013 is going to end well,” he said. “2014 is going to be fantastic. And not just in job growth, but in all areas we’re working on.”
Another measure of how busy 2013 was: The Montgomery County Economic Development/Government Equity (ED/GE) committee awarded $1.2 million in development funds just to two large projects — a bid to bring a big manufacturer to the former General Motors plant in Moraine and a new downtown mixed-use development.
Typically, the committee awards less — sometimes far less — or splits funding across ED/GE cycles at different times of the year. (The ED/GE program awards funds twice a year, in spring and fall rounds.)
Said Erik Collins, Montgomery County development director, “Historically, we have very good projects. But this was an situation where they (the latest proposals) were critical for the county and even for the region.”
This year, several significant projects found their way to the local agenda. The biggest new development projects include:
• Project Southbound, Moraine, project value of $250 million: JobsOhio Managing Director Kritsti Tanner recently told the Dayton Daily News that she has taken prospects through the former GM plant in Moraine at least a dozen times. Now, Stu Lichter, Industrial Realty Group principal, says he is working with a “major, major user” to bring to the plant, which he renamed “Progress Park” when he bought the property in 2011.
All eyes are on the state now that Montgomery County has awarded the city of Moraine $700,000 in funds requested for the project, which is codenamed “Southbound.” Leaders have not named the company considering the site, but Moraine City Manager Dave Hicks expects state action in coming weeks.
A large manufacturer in the former GM plant “will have many good ripple effects throughout the area,” Collins said.
• Area racinos, Turtlecreek Twp. ($175 million) and Dayton ($125 million): Two separate “racinos” 30 miles apart are open or close to opening in the Miami Valley. Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway is being built off Needmore and Wagner Ford roads, and Miami Valley Gaming and Racing in Warren County opened earlier this month. The Turtlecreek complex is expected to create more than 500 jobs and generate some $20 million in taxes and donations. Already, daily attendance has fluctuated between 5,000 on weekdays and 10,000 on weekends, said Jim Simms, the site’s general manager and president.
The Dayton project will create 1,000 jobs at the racino and supporting businesses, advocates have said. Skilled tradesunion leaders have said the Dayton racino is their biggest construction project this winter.
• Prologis, Union, $90 million: San Francisco-based industrial developer Prologis is raising a $90 million, 1.8 million-square-foot distribution center on the city of Union’s 600-area Global Logistics Airpark near the Dayton International Airport. The center should be operating by November 2014. Union and the Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District are extending roads and utilities to the site.
• Water Street, Dayton, $33 million: Downtown advocates have high hopes for this project. The work will begin with a $33.5 million initial phase, the building of a 50,000-square-foot commercial building, at least 150 apartments, a 480-space parking garage and more. The idea is to bring much-needed development to an area near Fifth Third Field and Dayton’s Tech Town business park.
• Student Suites, Dayton, $22 million: A student housing complex will be built downtown off Fourth and Ludlow at the site of the former Dayton Daily News building and adjacent property.
More online: Read our past coverage about area development projects at MyDaytonDailyNews.com/business.