Downtown Dayton

James Hicks is the Bearded Barber.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

WYSO Curious, our series where you ask the questions and our reporters answer them, is at it again, this time with a question that might seem clear-cut:

Who is the Bearded Barber?

Kroger in Huber Heights. Experts say if customers show they are willing to drive a few miles to a suburban location, it takes away the incentive for chains to build in limited downtown space. grocery store food
Nicholas Eckhart / Flickr/Creative Commons

There’s a lot going on in downtown Dayton: in some ways, it’s growing. Housing is being built or redeveloped, and small retail and restaurant businesses are taking root. In other ways, it’s struggling, with around a 30 percent vacancy rate for office buildings and a high rate of tax delinquency, including in some high-profile empty buildings like the Arcade.

An artist's rendering of the new kayak run plan along the Great Miami River in downtown Dayton.
Five Rivers Metroparks

Five Rivers Metroparks has announced changes to the plan for a downtown Dayton kayaking run, which means a delayed timeline for the Riverscape River Run.

The city of Dayton’s First Friday, a monthly event that opens up downtown art galleries and businesses to draw in visitors, is coming up this week, but it comes with bad news from one downtown gallery. The Connecting Art and Design Community (CADC), formerly known as the Cannery Gallery, is shutting its doors at the end of the month.

Christy Jennewein, who heads the gallery and event space and was involved in founding First Fridays, says she has struggled with funding.

Dayton Metro Library Executive Director Tim Kambitsch is excited about the new library facilities
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

The Dayton Metro Library system begins construction this spring on the first part of a major reorganization. The library board meets Wednesday to finalize the contract for the first of those projects, the E.C. Doren branch in Old North Dayton, and by 2017, neighborhoods all over Dayton will see smaller, older branches close or get renovated—and some big new libraries open up.

PNC building sketch
Crawford Hoying and Woodard Real Estate

The Dayton headquarters of PNC Bank will be moving in to the new development known as Water Street, becoming an anchor tenant for the riverfront office building.

Water Street is meant to take advantage of the views of the river, mostly by putting in 150 luxury apartments, but the $33.5 million project also includes a four-story, 50,000-square-foot office space and a parking structure. PNC plans to take on the two upper stories of the building, and sell its current building at 6 N. Main St.

Downtown Dayton’s Tech Town has a new tenant as of this week: 100 employees from the IT department at the Dayton Children’s Hospital are beginning to move into a third of Building III while the hospital does a major new construction project.

vistavision / Flickr Creative Commons

The Water Street development on Dayton’s river front is moving forward ahead of schedule following the Dayton City Commission's approval of the plan development last week.

Water Street as planned would be huge: 50,000 square feet of office space, hundreds of parking spaces and 161 residential units in the first stage of the project, which would be located right next to RiverScape MetroPark near the fork of the Great Miami and the Mad Rivers. The mixed-use project aims to compete with suburban developers.

Dayton Arcade Interior, 2013
Tom Gilliam / http://instagram.com/daytongram

Friday is the deadline for the owners of the Arcade in downtown Dayton to pay their property taxes or risk the county selling that debt to a third party—a tax lien sale.

The bright and ornate Arcade building has been languishing in the center of Dayton for more than two decades now. It’s been through foreclosures, tax lien sales, and a series of dispelled rumors about what redevelopment might look like.

The owners, who live in Wisconsin, owe Montgomery County nearly $326,000 in taxes. Montgomery County Treasurer Carolyn Rice says they haven’t made a payment since June.

vistavision / Flickr Creative Commons

The proposed Water Street development in downtown Dayton is one step closer to reality. The Dayton Plan Commission gave approval to the Water Street Project.  The private redevelopment effort would span almost the whole stretch of riverfront from Riverscape Park to Tech Town. Support for the $36 million effort was overwhelming at Tuesday night’s meeting.

"The developer has money, has experience, knows what he’s doing, he’s not coming saying give me money, I’ll build it, he’s bringing money from Columbus to here," says Sandy Mendelson, a downtown businessman.

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