Dayton Arcade

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Dayton Arcade
Third Street Entrance
Dayton Arcade is located in Ohio
Dayton Arcade
Dayton Arcade is located in the US
Dayton Arcade
Location Dayton, Ohio
Coordinates 39°45′30″N 84°11′33″W / 39.75833°N 84.19250°W / 39.75833; -84.19250Coordinates: 39°45′30″N 84°11′33″W / 39.75833°N 84.19250°W / 39.75833; -84.19250
Built 1902
Architect Frank M. Andrews
Architectural style Renaissance, Other
NRHP Reference # 75001498 [1]
Added to NRHP June 18, 1975

The Dayton Arcade is a collection of five buildings located in Dayton, Ohio. The Historic Arcade is a historical, architecturally elegant complex located in the heart of Dayton's central business district. Built between 1902 and 1904, it was conceived by Eugene J. Barney of the Barney & Smith Car Company and consists of five interconnecting buildings topped by a glass-domed rotunda, 70 feet (21 m) high and 90 feet (27 m) in diameter (detailing around the dome includes oak leaves and acorns, grain, rams' heads, wild turkeys, and cornucopia), below which two balconied upper floors circle the central enclave. As president of the Arcade Company, Barney made sure the Arcade had the latest innovations, including elevators, a power plant and a cold storage plant. The architect was Frank M. Andrews, known also as architect for many of NCR's factory buildings (notable for their use of progressive fenestration) and the American Building (originally Conover) at Third and Main Streets in Dayton.


The most notable building, which fronts on Third Street, is of Flemish design and is said to be patterned after a guild hall in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It looks like typical old Dutch architecture. The Fourth Street and Ludlow Street facades are done in Italian Renaissance Revival with the Commercial Building anchoring the corner of the lot. The most interesting architectural feature is the great dome. The classic detailing usually found in such rotundas was replaced by detailing representative of Ohio. The cornucopias are filled with fruits and vegetables from Ohio. There are festoons of oak leaves with acorns, ram heads and garlands of grain. At each framing member of the dome are colorful turkeys.

Quoting the souvenir program book issued upon the commencement of the Arcade's grand opening festival "The construction of the splendid group of buildings, known as the Arcade, was commenced on March 1st 1902, and completed on March 1st, 1904. The Third Street Building has a frontage on Third street of 66 feet, and was built by Mr. M. J. Gibbons and The Dayton Arcade Company. The Office building has a frontage on Ludlow Street of 66 feet, and the Apartment Building has a frontage on Fourth Street of 200 feet. The buildings are of steel and concrete, fireproof construction throughout, and possessing every modern equipment and convenience. The elevator service is furnished by six Otis electric elevators, and the Power Building is equipped with a complete steam heating, electric light and refrigerating plant of the most modern type. Through each building runs spacious arcades, richly constructed of marble and mosaic tile, converging into the Arcade Market House, which, with its magnificent glass dome and beautifully decorated galleries surrounding and overlooking the Market House, is unlike any buildings in this country; artistic in conception and perfect in execution. "

Originally, the main spaces were utilized for a major food market with retail, offices, and housing located on the upper floors. Through the first four decades of Twentieth Century, this super supermarket and retail center was one of Downtown Dayton's prime attractions and destinations. Here, one shopped for the unusual in fruit and vegetables, seafood, baked goods, food specialties, meats and meat specialties, fresh-cut flowers and assorted luxury items available in or out of season.

In 1974, the Arcade was placed on the National Register of Historical Places.

1980s Renovation[edit]

In the late 1970s, investors began planning and implementing a major restoration of the Arcade. In May 1980, the newly refurbished Arcade was reopened as a retail shopping and food center. In its new guise as Arcade Square, the center offered a lively collection of boutique stores, restaurants, stores offering staples, kitchen apparel, books, and luggage (and even a museum devoted to Coca-Cola). The Dayton Philharmonic, among other offerings, performed to holiday crowds from the vast floor below the Arcade rotunda. Given the general decline of retail activity and volume within the central business district, financial success gradually eluded Arcade Square, and it was closed to the public in 1990. Its final tenants still included its famous Arcade Seafood store and the last traditional dime store to operate in Downtown Dayton - McCrory's -- both of which remained open for a time after the closure of the Arcade Square public spaces themselves.

Although currently mothballed, save for certain brief re-openings for holiday traffic, several plans are in the works by preservation minded organizations to reopen the Arcade and its adjacent upper levels. The building was in use until 1991 and remains empty today. [2]

Currently the Dayton Arcade is a dead mall. An Ohio not-for-profit group, "Friends of the Dayton Arcade" was created to advocate for the Arcade Building. The group published a book in 2008 entitled, "The Dayton Arcade; Crown Jewel of the Gem City. " The former owner owes several hundred thousand in back taxes. This tax obligation was purchased by American Tax Funding. The sheriff's sale occurred on March 12, 2009 and the building was purchased by Dayton Arcade, LLC for the minimum bid of $615,106.02. The new Arcade owners, Gunther Berg and Wendell Strutz said they would begin work on the Arcade in 6 months to restore the building to its former glory (with mixed use developments - housing, offices, restaurants, and commercial space). Early estimates on the restoration total $30 million. As of September 2015, work on the renovation has yet to begin.

Also as of September 2015, the current owners owe $435,765.33 in back taxes on the property which have been delinquent since 2009. The value of the property was assessed at $276,320. [3]

Dayton Arcade Task Force[edit]

Mayor Nan Whaley announced the formation in August 2014 of a Task Force to determine whether redevelopment is possible. [4] In June 2015, Sandvick Architects and Jera Construction, Inc. - both of Cleveland, Ohio - revealed that the Arcade was still structurally sound and made some initial redevelopment suggestions. [5]

Task Force Members[edit]

The Dayton Arcade Task Force is composed of the following members:[6]

  • David Bohardt, St. Vincent de Paul, co-chair
  • Steve Petitjean, Fifth Third Bank, co-chair
  • Rachel Bankowitz, City of Dayton
  • John Gower, City of Dayton
  • Dave Williams, CityWide Development Corporation
  • Marty Smallwood, Downtown Priority Board
  • Mark Parks, Downtown Dayton Partnership Board/Lewaro Construction
  • Neil Freund, Freund, Freeze & Arnold
  • Aaron Smiles, Matrix Realty Group
  • Ed Kress, Dinsmore & Shohl
  • Shannon Isom, YWCA of Dayton
  • Fred Strahorn, State Representative

Dry and Stable Initiative[edit]

In a series of videos that can be found below, John Gower, the Urban Design Coordinator for the City of Dayton, discusses the steps being taken in Fall of 2015 toward bringing the Arcade back into productive use. The Dayton City Commission passed legislation in September 2015 for a $700,000 "Dry and Stable" initiative to be done on the Dayton Arcade. As the videos explain this involves gutter cleaning and maintenance, securing any broken or missing glass frames, and fixing the mortar on some of the buildings where rain damage has eroded the mortar away. The funds used to secure the building through this "Dry and Stable" initiative are being placed as a lien on the Arcade and will be repaid to the city by future developers.

Very little maintenance has been performed on the Arcade in the last nine years, according to Gower, and this initiative gives the Arcade another three to five years of structural stability. Because of the exposure to the elements, the building has suffered structural damage through the freeze and thaw cycle, and the taskforce determined that if the Arcade went through another uncontrolled freeze/thaw cycle, re-purposing the space would be nearly impossible.

Alternately, the option of demolition was brought up, but dismissed due to the historic value and heritage of the building and the financial feasibility of tearing the structure down. It has been estimated that the total cost of demolition would be between $8 million and $10 million.

The three part series can be viewed below.

Dayton Arcade and Rotunda Tour (1 of 3)[edit]

Dayton Arcade Roof Tour (2 of 3)[edit]

Dayton Arcade Apartment and Office Tour (3 of 3)[edit]


Steve Petitjean, a senior vice president at Fifth Third Bank who is co-chairing the Arcade Task Force, stated that Miller-Valentine Group is providing $250,000 of the $700,000 needed for the "Dry and Stable" initiative, while the City of Dayton is putting up the remainder. Petitjean also mentioned that out-of-state developer, now known as Cross Street Partners from Baltimore, Maryland is interested in the property. Initial estimates state that the mixed use renovation of the Arcade may cost up to $60 million to complete. An article by Lewis Wallace at WYSO stated that "The [Miller-Valentine Group] hasn’t necessarily agreed to pursue that larger project, but these first steps are a glimmer of hope after a long time in limbo. "[7]

According to Petitjean, Cross Street Partners and Miller-Valentine have collaborated on past projects and "bat 1,000" on redevelopment projects of local properties. It was also stated that the financing for the project will take some time - as much as three to five years before a project could be complete. [3]

Stage 1[edit]

On January 28, 2016 the City of Dayton announced that a Memorandum of Understanding with the development team of Miller-Valentine Group and Cross Street Partners has laid the groundwork for the first stage of redevelopment of the Dayton Arcade. The first stage of development will cost between $12 and $15 million to rehabilitate the 10-story commercial building on the corner of the lot as well as the 5-story residential building along 4th street. The plan is for these structures to house 60 residential units geared toward arts housing. The development group is scheduled to purchase the property by early 2017 once the financing has been arranged.

Planned funding for the project includes the application for nine percent competitive housing tax credits through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. These funds are awarded to low-income housing projects, of which the planned artistic housing is a part. Additionally, state and federal historic preservation tax credit awards will be a crucial part of the plan. [8]



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