Downtown Dayton Chess Club building sells

A property that has housed the Dayton Chess Club for nearly two decades has been purchased by a Columbus architecture firm.

Triad Architects has paid about $275,000 for the three-story building at 18 W. Fifth St., next to Spaghetti Warehouse.

The property, which has about 20,000 square feet of space, currently houses the Dayton Chess Club and the Tri-College Bookstore.

That part of the city is on the rise, with the recent addition of the Levitt Pavilion Dayton, an outdoor amphitheater that will host 50 free concerts each year.

MORE: ‘This really plants a flag’: Officials hope new downtown pavilion is centerpiece of needed neighborhood rebound

Triad will do a market analysis to figure out the best uses for the space, but the plan is to activate all three floors of the property, said Dan Mayer, business strategist for the company.

The property will have a mix of uses, possibly like offices, restaurant space and customized residential units, Mayer said.

“There’s nothing that’s not on the table,” he said. “It’s something we’ll be trying to evolve and fine tune over the next few months.”

Mayer noted that the chess club’s and bookstore’s leases have been extended.

The property belonged to Sharon and Riley Driver, whose company purchased it in 2000. They bought out their company in 2013.

The entire building has five bays, and the Drivers owned the western three bays. The eastern portion of the structure, listed as 12 to 16 W. Fifth St., is owned by Granite Holdings LTD, according to property records.

Mayer said the goal is for a partnership to redevelop the entire structure, which is called the Reed-Steffan building. Mayer said developers are expected to pursue state historic tax credits and other financing incentives to help fund the project.

Triad Architects’ past work include hip and eye-catching school, education and learning center designs.

The company restored and reused a landmark building that is the “gateway” to Columbus’ popular Short North District. The Yankee on High building has a Euro-style cocktail bar, a meeting and event venue and urban lofts.

Riley Driver said Triad is going to transform the property.

“I am absolutely convinced of that — these guys have a desire to do really good things,” Driver said.

Riley Driver said he would have liked to hold off selling the property for another year or longer, because that part of the city is heating up.

But Driver, who is a pastor, said his church responsibilities are requiring more of his time and he couldn’t wait.

Driver said he and his wife converted part of the building into a living space. He said they resided there seven years.

The inside of the terracotta building is quite unique and attractive, Driver said.

“The Chess Club on the first floor had grandmasters from Russia, and one said he hadn’t seen anything like this since he left Russia,” Driver said.

MORE: Interest in Dayton’s new Levitt Pavilion leads to daily requests to buy tickets … which are free

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