Student Suites has submitted a new site plan for its proposed student housing complex downtown because the city of Dayton has been unable to clear a deed restriction tied to the recently imploded Schwind Building.
Steve Papa, director of operations and construction services for Student Suites, said the U-shaped, 200-unit building is now proposed to wrap around the Wilkinson Street side of the property, rather than the Ludlow Street side that includes the historic former Dayton Daily News building.
He said the initial aggressive target of opening in August 2014 has now been pushed back a year.
“We’ll still have the same number of units,” Papa said. “But we had to reroute down Fourth Street, along Wilkinson and back across the back of the federal courthouse. And any parking will be relocated.”
Papa said Student Suites is waiting for feedback on the new site plan from city planning officials.
Aaron Sorrell, Dayton’s director of planning and community development, said Thursday that city officials have been moving along two parallel tracks since receiving the new site plan last week.
He said city planners are reviewing the new proposal, but at the same time, they continue to work with the federal Housing and Urban Development department, in an effort to get the deed restriction lifted.
The Schwind Building was demolished in August, but a deed restriction still limits the property to low-income housing, and the Student Suites project does not qualify. Student Suites’ new site plan would have the buildings constructed solely on the former Dayton Daily News property – while preserving the historic building – thus avoiding the deed conflict.
Sorrell said the city has sought HUD approval to transfer that deed restriction to the David Building on East Third Street, where a low-to-moderate-income renovation has been planned. Sorrell said that type of transfer would be a first for Dayton, but has been done in other cities.
Sorrell said if HUD doesn’t respond within a few weeks, the city will have to make a decision on the new site plan, which would have to go back before the Landmarks Commission, because the former DDN site is on the National Register of Historic Places.
That could be touchy, since the Landmarks Commission last year called for Student Suites to preserve the façade of a 1922 DDN building on the site. Rauch, Inc., working for Student Suites, began to tear that façade down, and the city eventually took blame, saying Landmarks’ instructions were not properly included on demolition permits.
If the Landmarks Commission approves, Papa said Student Suites will have to reapply for project funding, but he said he was “very confident” that would be accomplished.
“I truly believe this project will get done,” Papa said.