UPDATE:

Ohio governor debate in Dayton: How to watch, listen, follow

 Connor Group’s $18M office to spur airport growth


The iconic $18 million Connor Group central office building that opens Wednesday at the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport keeps a billion-dollar business in the Dayton region and could spur more economic development at the general aviation airport, local officials said.

The real estate investment firm looked at the possibility of moving its central office to North Carolina, but chose to relocate from Centerville to the intersection of Austin Boulevard and Ohio 741 near Interstate 75.

“Our operation is nationwide, but we’re still proud to call Dayton home,” said Larry Connor, the company’s managing partner.

The Connor Group Central Support Office, which can be seen across from Austin Landing, has a modern design that features a brushed aluminum and glass facade, with a large central atrium space that provides employees with access to natural light.

The facility houses about 70 associates who work at the real estate firm or its affiliated technology company, First Billing Services, which provides online payment processing.

Launched in 1991 with a $400,000 investment to purchase three apartment communities in Dayton, the Connor Group now has assets of more than $1.5 billion. The privately held firm owns and operates luxury apartment communities in nine U.S. cities that also include Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Nashville and Raleigh-Durham.

Connor said the firm will announce its first, $66 million property acquisition in Chicago in September or October, and also plans to enter the Denver market within the next six months.

The Connor Group employs about 400 people nationwide, including about 90 in the Dayton area.

“We did not directly offer any incentives for them to relocate from their current location in the area, but we were certainly supportive of working with our local and regional partners to make sure that we retained those jobs in Montgomery County,” said Chris Snyder, Miami Twp. director of planning and zoning.

Snyder called the 39,840-square-foot, two-story facility a “landmark building.” In 2012, it was honored with the American Architecture Award, which recognizes the most significant new contemporary architecture, landscape architecture, interiors and urban planning in the U.S.

Connor said the angular design by Columbus-based architecture and engineering firm Moody-Nolan Inc. was intended to dispel the “misnomer” of Dayton being a “rust belt” region.

“Our hope was that the building would be a symbol for innovation and technology, which I think is a lot more accurate when you look at what is going on in the region than the ‘rust belt,’” he said.

The building design process took 16 months, followed by 22 months of construction. On Tuesday, contractors were still putting finishing touches on the facility before Wednesday night’s black-tie grand opening. Connor said it will be another six to 12 months before the building is complete.

The Connor Group has a long-term lease on the 9.5-acre parcel at the northwest corner of the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport from the city of Dayton, which owns the property.

Dayton Aviation Director Terry Slaybaugh said the city is prohibited from selling airport land because it is publicly funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Connor Group employees will generate additional income tax revenue for the Miami Twp.-Dayton Joint Economic Development District, he said.

The airport has more than 100 acres of additional land east of the runway available for development. City and township officials hope the Connor Group building will serve as an example to attract other companies to locate at the airport, particularly those that use private planes to conduct business.

“We realize the area is being built up around us, and that the property will probably come into play here in the next couple of years as that area continues to develop,” Slaybaugh said.

Connor said his company plans to exercise its option to build a hangar at the airport for its planes within the next 12 to 24 months.

Currently, the Connor Group occupies about 75 percent of its new building. The company expects to grow to 650-700 associates nationally over the next 10 years.

“We built this building so a decade from now it will fulfill our needs,” Connor said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Hamilton neighbors to congregate for unique picnic on High/Main bridge
Hamilton neighbors to congregate for unique picnic on High/Main bridge

There’s going to be a party Sunday across Hamilton’s High/Main Bridge, with residents of all 17 neighborhoods invited to eat, meet people from other parts of the city and take what someday will become a historic photo of the gathering above the Great Miami River. “The goal is basically to use the bridge and the river as a connector...
2 wanted for questioning in Middletown car wash theft, vandalism
2 wanted for questioning in Middletown car wash theft, vandalism

Police need your help identifying two people wanted for questioning in a theft and vandalism report from a Middletown car wash. According to surveillance photos posted on the Middletown Division of Police Facebook page, the Blue Ball Auto Wash, located at 3288 Dixie Hwy., show two people police are wanting to question. We are working to learn more...
State schools chief, education group argue on Twitter over state tests and graduation rules
State schools chief, education group argue on Twitter over state tests and graduation rules

As debates over Ohio’s current and future graduation standards continue, state school superintendent Paolo DeMaria had a pointed Twitter exchange this weekend with the Fordham Institute’s Ohio branch. Fordham, an education policy institute, has been one of the most consistent voices calling for Ohio to set higher standards for student graduation...
CHEERS! The Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest mugs are a coveted collectible
CHEERS! The Dayton Art Institute Oktoberfest mugs are a coveted collectible

Handcrafted mugs created by regional potters have been a sought-after collectible since Oktoberfest at the Dayton Art Institute began in the 1970s.  The earliest mug in the DAI’s collection, from 1974, is made from glass and features a printed DAI logo. In the years following the mugs were mass produced until the idea to use local potters...
Miami Valley Gaming hiring for upcoming racing season
Miami Valley Gaming hiring for upcoming racing season

Miami Valley Gaming is looking to fill more than 30 open full-time and part-time positions with an additional 20 seasonal positions for its upcoming racing season. Varied areas of business at the facility at 6000 Ohio 63 in Turtlecreek Twp.    include gaming, food-and-beverage, marketing and security. Positions available include servers...
More Stories