Investment breathes new life into unique Dayton artists’ space


A complex of historic Dayton industrial buildings is proving to be a haven for local artists, even as it gets a new lease on life.

The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority Board of Trustees last month approved a $300,000 loan to the company overseeing the Front Street buildings, a commercial complex that bills itself as “the largest community of artists and artisans in the Dayton area.”

“It’s just a very eclectic community,” said Krysten Smith, who helps manage the trio of buildings straddling East Second and Front streets. “There’s a whole variety of different types of art that we do here — from painters to sculptors, jewelers to woodworkers, screening printers, photographers.”

The Port Authority’s loan will cover just over half of the expected $510,077 cost of replacing a 45-year-old heating boiler for the complex at 1001 E. Second St. Citywide Development, the city of Dayton’s private development arm, is expected to cover the rest, Brad Evers, port authority counsel, said recently.

Chris Meyer, account manager for Tipp City’s Energy Optimizers USA, approached the Port Authority for the financial help.

The old steam boiler required full-time oversight by an engineer when it was operated, mostly in and around business hours between November and April. Continuing that oversight, and continuing to fix the boiler, was too expensive an option.

“They had a room with an open window in the brick, so they (the monitoring engineer) could look in,” Meyer said.

The area is known for open-air art studios and outdoor markets. Stroll through the red brick structures, and it’s easy to see how unique it is. Tall windows give painters’ studios plenty of light. Eighteen-foot-high ceilings hover overhead. A cargo elevator doesn’t quite look like it will move — until it does.

“You go over there, and you see this space has an interesting feel to it,” Port Authority Executive Director Jerry Brunswick said.

Meyer said the investment is being structured as a PACE project, where the cost of new energy equipment is repaid for up to 20 years via an assessment added to a property’s tax bill.

The new heating units are on order and are expected to be delivered before Christmas, Meyer said. They will be installed after winter.

Built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, much of the complex once was a paper mill, the former home of International Envelope. The building is owned by Front Street Building LLC, a company formed by Zimmel and Katherine Miller in 2001. Zimmel Miller, who worked in construction and real estate, died in 2006 at 87.

The buildings are full, and there’s a waiting list of would-be tenants.

“It’s 100 percent full, which is an amazing thing in Dayton,” Meyer said. “Not only that, she has a waiting list.”

Plenty of prospective tenants are “amazed” at the what they see on Front Street, Smith said.

“That’s really what we’re trying to do — just get that word out there, to get everybody to see what the hidden gem in the Gem City is,” she said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Amazon working on home robot, report says
Amazon working on home robot, report says

Amazon.com Inc. may be gearing up for its next big project: a home robot. The rumor comes from a Bloomberg report published Monday in which sources familiar with the plan revealed that the company has started work on the domestic robot under the code name Vesta. >> Read more trending news  According to the sources, Vesta has...
Opening date announced for Macy’s outlet store in Dayton
Opening date announced for Macy’s outlet store in Dayton

Macy’s will open an outlet store at the Dayton Mall in June. The department store will open its first Dayton-area Backstage outlet store at the Dayton Mall on June 6. The new outlet store will have approximately 12,900 square feet of dedicated retail space and will live on the second level inside the full-line Macy’s. The grand opening...
Did you buy this product? Vegetable sold in Ohio ALDI stores recalled
Did you buy this product? Vegetable sold in Ohio ALDI stores recalled

A vegetable item sold in Ohio ALDI stores has been recalled. McCall Farms Inc. is voluntarily recalling a limited amount of cases of Happy Harvest Spinach in 13.5 ounce cans as a precautionary measure due to the potential presence of peanuts resulting from product mislabeling, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced. The product was available...
Dayton Mall Applebee’s property sold
Dayton Mall Applebee’s property sold

A Miami Twp. Applebee’s Grill and Bar restaurant property has sold for nearly $1.64 million, Montgomery County property records show. MORE: Dayton home sales are on the March The transaction happened Monday, with AP Dayton LLC buying the 105 N. Springboro Pike property from Cypress Grove Holdings for $1.638 million, records show. MORE: ...
JUST IN: Popeyes unveils plans, timeline for new restaurant 
JUST IN: Popeyes unveils plans, timeline for new restaurant 

Site preparation has begun for the Dayton area’s newest Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen coming to Kettering, and the restaurant’s franchise owner is shooting for a late-summer opening.  Workers with heavy equipment have started preliminary work at the site of a former PNC Bank branch at 4025 Wilmington Pike at East Stroop...
More Stories