- Cornelius Frolik Staff Writer
As its first project in Dayton barrels toward completion, Kentucky firm Weyland Ventures says it is gearing up for another round of development that will solidify its long-term commitment to the city.
Weyland Ventures, based in Louisville, says Dayton has become its second home and it hopes to make another splash with its next projects, which potentially could help extend the Oregon Historic District east and bring new life to several empty commercial buildings.
“We’re working on a lot of different things and we have a lot property in Dayton, which is good,” said Barry Alberts, principal of Weyland Ventures. “It means that we’re going to be in Dayton a long time.”
Weyland Ventures currently is constructing about 40 loft-style apartments and first-floor restaurant space in a vacant factory at 210 Wayne Ave., near the Oregon District business strip.
The new Wheelhouse lofts are expected to open this summer, and the Troll Pub restaurant on the ground level should come this fall.
The firm has the development rights for that entire block, which is a triangular piece of land bordered by Wayne, Fourth, Fifth and Walnut Streets and is home to a medium-sized warehouse building.
The firm also has the rights to the former Garden Station property and an adjacent and vacant building at 101 Bainbridge St.
The firm, which has helped revive downtown Louisville, envisions building a lively district east of Wayne Avenue that connects into and grows the Oregon District. The district could feature $40 million in new investment.
The Wheelhouse project alone is costing about $8 million.
Weyland Ventures plans new construction on the 200 block of Wayne Avenue and on the Garden Station site.
But it is deciding whether to restore or tear down a five-story commercial building at 101 Bainbridge and a warehouse just south of the Wheelhouse, across from Press Coffee Bar, Alberts said.
The firm plans to again seek historic tax credits for the six-story building it owns at 15 McDonough St., which it wants to turn into offices for nearby manufacturing firm Gosiger and other tenants.
“We like the momentum in Dayton … we’re excited about planting our flag and staying there a long time,” Alberts said.
Weyland Ventures also is in the running for the development rights of the Paru Tower, or Society Bank building, an empty 14-story office building at 41 N. Main St.
Weyland Ventures is currently competing with Ohio-based Coon Restoration & Sealants Inc. for the rights to the city-owned building. The city expects to select a development partner in coming weeks.
Weyland Ventures’ initial proposal is to convert the building’s upper floors into both hotel rooms and residential units, while the bank lobby and atrium space above can be restored to create a grand ballroom and events space.
Ground floor space that looks out on Main Street could house retail establishments, and Weyland Ventures says it has talked with hotel operators who believe the building would be a strong candidate for hotel accommodations.
“The expanded amenity package that is currently underway in downtown Dayton also suggests a growing market for weekend tourist and leisure demand, (always a challenge for downtown hotels), although this remains somewhat speculative,” according to the proposal.
The hotel could have about 150 rooms, which would leave several floors for housing, the proposal says.
The hotel and residential mix would allow people who rent or own units at the tower to utilize hotel services if desired, such as housekeeping, room serivce and reduced rates for guests, the proposal states.