‘Riverfront Grande’ owner plans new Main Street cafe, barbershop

The downtown Dayton Newcom Building has been rechristened the “Riverfront Grande.”

Area real estate investor Charlie Samaan is sinking about $800,000 into the seven-story apartment building at 255 N. Main St. which he bought for $300,000 in May. The building is at the southwest corner of North Main and West Monument Avenue.


But Samaan is doing more than renovating the building’s 27 apartments. He is planning a new downtown barbershop and cafe/bakery for the historic spot’s basement level.

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The building was in the news last winter when Dayton city government ordered residents to vacate the structure after previous owners failed to fix a malfunctioning heating system, making the building unsafe to live in.

On Tuesday, Samaan said his new $35,000 boiler system passed a state inspection, a key milestone in his view.

But the new boiler is just the beginning of the changes he says he has made.

PHOTO GALLERY: See the 'Riverfront Grande,' inside and out 

“We’ve started coming in here and really changing inside out,” said Samaan, who also owns the J.D. Legends Entertainment complex in Franklin. “The current tenants have been great. New tenants are waiting to come in.”

The building is steps away from downtown’s riverfront and key downtown employers. Lease rates range from about $750 to $950 a month. (Previous lease rates were around $475 to $550, he said.)

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“The response has been fantastic ever since we changed the image of the building,” Samaan said. “We changed the name … We’ve had to confront a lot of problems. We’ve done that, and we’ve been pretty successful with it.”

The building features what will become a seventh floor penthouse apartment with access to the roof. Samaan is working with the Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority, which owns resident parking spaces, in a lease-back arrangement.

And he’s eyeing even bigger plans. Samaan plans a barbershop and bakery/cafe in the building’s two corner basement spaces. The cafe would be on the building’s northeast corner, with tables and outdoor dining planned for the sidewalk at the corner of Main and Monument.

Plenty of work remains, but Samaan is planning a tentative spring 2019 opening for the barbershop and cafe.

The building is found at the location of what historians say was Dayton’s first house and general store, the Newcom Tavern built in 1798. That building served as a trading post and Army headquarters until the 1830s.

The current apartment building was built in 1907.

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