...maybe too narrow-focused?
You've probably seen this front page story in this Fridays' DDN, about how the city wants a plan to incentivize "vintage structures".
The paper says the there will be $1M a year for five years to:
"...promote transformation of vintage downtown Main Street buildings with financial incentives for developers who take them on as projects..."
..and goes on to say that target uses are jobs and housing.
Note that this is just for "vintage downtown Main Street buildings". Presumably vintage means prior to WWII.
Which begs the question on how many of these are left, considering Main Street has lost a lot of prewar structures via various urban renewal schemes and new construction. Arguably Main Street has the lowest concentration of prewar buildings.
Mapping out vintage Main Street buildings, and color coding them by private and public/non-proift use, one see there are 10 in private hands, and two (Kuhns and McCrory) have recently been renovated (maybe the McCrorys could use a bit more).
Note that most of these buildings are over 7 stories tall, actually most of the them are small high- or mid-rises. Probably somewhat costly to renovate. One, the Lindsey Building, is owned by the city, but is vacant. Presumably the city might be interested giving it to a developer to renovate.
But what is noticeable are the very few older propertys and the relatively large scale of the buildings.
Vintage Downtown Beyond Main
Broadening the look, diagramming the core of downtown by including blocks flanking Ludlow and Jefferson Streets, one sees considerably more vintage buildings, at smaller scale.
..which also occur in loose clusters. Two of these have sort of historic district designation, either nominated or eligible...Terra Cotta (maybe), and Fire Blocks and vicinty.
Another sort of cuts across the heart of downtown, including Ludlow, the Arcade, and Main south of 3rd. The last undisturbed prewar block front (no parking lots or new construction) is in this cluster..north side of 4th, between Ludlow and Main.
The Fire Blocks cluster on 3rd between Jefferson and St Clair has the last mostly intact prewar streetscape, with minimal disturbance by new construction and parking lots (though these are on the street they are not large enought to distort the streetscape)
What Will $1M per year Buy?
Given the scale of the buildings on Main, not much. Example from Louisville compared to Dayton:
An old hotel of roughly the same scale as a Dayton midrise (but more elaborate inside) cost $20M to renovate into mixed use (but mostly residential).
Comparing it to the Fidelity Building, perhaps $10M to adpatively re-use the Fidelity? $1M wont go too far there (10% of reno cost)?
Perhaps a much larger deal fund would be needed to do the kind of large-scale renovations that would be needed on Main for places like Center City, Fidelity, the Lindsey Building.
$1M a year might go much farther if used for the smaller vintage building clusters off Main. Buildings like this, where the issues are in part code compliance, restoration to NPS standard, fire safety, hazmat abatement, where a city grant could help to reduce development costs.
Since these occur in clusters there could be a concerted effort to regenerate these two ways:
- Residential districts, using the $1M/yr fund to work on converting upper floors to residential, perhaps to fund fire code compliance work
- Ground floor use, using the $M/yr fund to assist in ground floor tenant improvements for new and existing businesses (retail, nightclubs, food & drink, gallerys, etc).
Note that this isn't to denigrate large scale renovations of downtown office buildings. This could be done as well, but needs a more robust funding stream. $1M/year is not going to help too much. The impact would be greater if this money was focused in the older building clusters off Main.