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5 reasons the Arcade is doomed ‘building of living dead’

By Amelia Robinson - Staff Writer



Just in time for Halloween, it seems another rusty nail has been driven in the coffin that holds the Arcade — that decrepit complex long ago considered downtown Dayton’s shopping mecca.

As my colleagues Joanne Huist Smith and Jeremy P. Kelley reported today for MyDaytonDailyNews.com, more than $325,000 in unpaid taxes on the Dayton Arcade could mean the complex will again go up for a tax lien sale.

Gunter Berg and Wendell Strutz of Wisconsin purchased the complex at a 2009 tax lien auction for the minimum bid of $615,106. They vowed it would be restored.

The city is still “waiting” for that restoration.

The latest tax lien sale will be advertised Monday, official said. Berg and Strutz have until Nov. 22 to make payment arrangements. Berg said he would not let the Arcade go up for sale.

At this point, it is doubtful it will really matter in the long-term if Berg and Strutz come up with the dough or someone else buys the Arcade.

The writing seems to be on the wall for the 1904 six-building complex. That writing might as well read “REDRUM” as the Arcade looks like the setting of a Stephen King horror.

The buildings are no doubt loved, but sometimes loving something means letting it go.

Fat chance the Arcade will be resurrected even like the poor souls in 1985’s “Re-Animator.”

Today it is not even as alive as the zombies that terrorize the still-living meat sacks on A&E’s “Walking Dead.”

It is clearly time to drive a stake through the Arcade’s head (one of the ways to kill a zombie) and move on.

Below are five reasons the Arcade is doomed to horror:

Swamp thing

The old girl just ain’t what she use to be as observed in a raw video we posted in April. Its condition had deteriorated significantly since the Dayton Daily staff shot footage there back in 2009. The water damage shown in the April video shocked many of those still hoping the Arcade could be saved.

Black death

If you didn’t succumb to the water, the black mold would surely get you. In April the City of Dayton issued a press release about code violations at the Arcade. Among other things, there is the city noted “extensive black mold on floors and walls posing serious air quality concerns.” The city denied a permit to open the building to the pubic for the May Urban Nights. Black mold is nasty, nasty stuff.

Widespread decomposition

The Arcade’s “‘flesh” is flaking like it’s addicted to the despicable tissue-eating drug Krokodil. Inspectors have noted that debris has fallen from the ceilings. Workers had to board up some windows after glass started falling out. The cherished glass-domed rotunda has even suffered storm damage.

Torture chamber?

The Arcade use to be regarded as a sort of retail castle. Now it might as well be the dungeon under the castle. It’s freaky to walk past such a massive set of unused buildings and worry about the danger inside.

Haunted corridors

The structure is a psychological reminder of what the city use to but no longer is. I am not sure if it is haunted, but the Ghost of the Past clearly resides in the structure closed in 1991.

The complex’s current state is an insult to those who built it and shopped there during its glory days. Surely some are rolling around in their graves.

Many have proposed alternatives to leveling the buildings (read: 5 things that won’t move into the downtown Arcade complex), but it is clear that it is best if the city just GETS OUT while it still can.

Hopefully the facade can be saved.

Contact this blogger at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com or Twitter.com/DDNSmartMouth

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