Latest Dayton Arcade plans seek to blend past and future

The latest plan to revitalize the Dayton Arcade complex would seek to create apartments, offices, retail space and the kind of development seen in other cities as successful attracting artists and creative professionals to downtown living.

Developers detailed their plans Friday and envision restoring the long-vacant property to offices, retail, housing and shops - a mix that mirrors the original use for the property during its heyday decades ago.

>>>  The Arcade: Dayton's crowning jewel

But they also want to create spaces that artists can share, as well as a kitchen incubator and places to host public events, art exhibits, a market and demonstration classes.

The Dayton Arcade they envision would be an economic engine — fueled by artistic and innovative activities — that supports a larger eight- to 10-year plan to add as many as 10,000 new jobs and 500 new start-ups downtown, officials said. City of Dayton goals for downtown include tripling the number of people living downtown and increasing the number of visitors by 30 percent.

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“We’re really focusing on what we call this whole kind of collision of arts and innovation and how that starts to reset downtown,” said Dave Williams, vice president of urban development with Miller-Valentine Group, which is a partner on the project. “That’s what urban areas have over any other place — they have a unique fabric that no one can match.”

However, the financing package needed to make the arcade viable is still a long way from full assembly.

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Maryland-based developer Cross Street Partners and the Miller-Valentine Group have a $70 million plan for revitalizing the arcade. The arcade complex, located in the heart of downtown Dayton, has seven interconnected buildings built around the iconic domed central rotunda.

The team proposes creating about 130 apartments that will be marketed to artistic and creative professionals in the commercial and Fourth Street buildings.

Housing like that - which provide amenities for residents to use, have been hot developments around the nation, and some communities credit them with re-energizing sluggish neighborhoods. Creative professionals can include writers, visual and graphic artists, engineers, architects, chefs and culinary specialists.

>>RELATED: Downtown development surging

The arcade’s basement, in the main hub, would have about 16,555 square feet of maker space, and the basement and first floor would contain about 27,575 square feet of event space, according to the initial floor plan design concepts.

The second and third floors should offer more than 40,200 square feet of co-share spaces, where people who do not need a typical office share a work-space. Developers also are looking at classroom kitchens and a market area.

“The whole idea is, how do we create something that is more than just a place to live — how do we create a vibrant community,” Williams said.

The arcade also would feature more than 46,300 square feet of retail space in the basement and on the first floor.

Phases 1 and 2 of the project deliver a complete product that would rehab the rotunda and would create public space, housing and street-level activities, said John Gower, urban design director at CityWide Development Corp.

The arcade project could bring about 400 to 500 jobs to the property.

The arcade would add greatly to the energy building downtown from growth in new housing, a proliferation of brew pubs and breweries and the opening of more than 110 new start-up businesses.

The arcade project would also coincide with plans to build an outdoor amphitheater, the Levitt Pavilion Dayton, a block away at Fourth and Main Streets.

“It’s (all) headed toward a harmonic convergence,” Gower said, referring to a variety of investment occurring or in development for downtown.

The revival of the Dayton Arcade would jump-start a section of downtown that has been stuck in neutral, and it should send major economic ripples throughout the community, attracting additional investment and interest in the urban core, developers said.

The arcade certainly ties into efforts to attract and retain creative talent and millennials in the center city.

It is part of the strategy to — within a decade — increase office occupancy downtown to 90 percent and market rents to $25 per square foot, according to goals set by Miller-Valentine Group and Cross Street Partners.

Other goals for downtown include increasing the number of hotel rooms by 1,000 and attracting 3 million square feet of new development. Future phases for the arcade call for constructing a boutique hotel product.

Earlier this year, the arcade project was awarded $20 million in low income housing tax credits to help create the affordable housing component.

The development team has requested $5 million in state historic tax credits, and the project will also seek New Market Tax Credits.

On Thursday, a community development entity sponsored by CityWide Development Corp. received $40 million in federal tax credits to award. The arcade developers hope to make a strong case for their project.

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