Lots of color, lots of windows: How Gem City Market will light up northwest Dayton

The new food cooperative planned for northwest Dayton is coming into sharper focus as the project barrels ahead, cruising past benchmarks that supporters thought would take far longer to reach.

The Gem City Market has received more than $2.4 million in charitable donations in a little over a year, and it now has more than 1,780 members, said Lela Klein, executive director of Co-op Dayton, the developer of the new grocery store.

“That’s a lot of money — there’s a lot of goodwill in this community,” Klein said.

The market’s original target was to sell 2,000 shares (or memberships) by the time the market opens. But the membership drive has been so successful they’ve upped that goal to 3,000.

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The plan is to start construction on the full-service grocery store by the end of this year. The store’s opening is expected by the end of 2019, early 2020.

The market site is on the 300 and 400 blocks of Salem Avenue, which is mostly vacant land, except for the vacant Ken McCallister Inc. art supply property on the corner, at the intersection of Superior Avenue.

Klein said it is expected to cost about $4.2 million to acquire the site, tear down the art supply building and construct the new store.

The market, which will be built out from the corner of Superior and Salem avenues, will be a more than $5 million investment in the Old Dayton View neighborhood.

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In addition to donations, the market plans to seek New Market Tax Credits and other incentives.

A new rendering of the market, by Matthew Sauer Architect, shows colorful designs and a glass facade that stretches nearly the length of the building.

The market is a community-driven investment in a part of Dayton that has seen much more demolition than new building, said Matt Sauer, who is designing the grocery store.

Yetunde Rodriguez created the print design on the facade of the store in the rendering.

The vision for the store is bold, colorful, vital and tries to “reestablish a traditional storefront rhythm” along Salem with alternating glass walls and brick columns, Sauer said.

“Our approach was to design a market that represents the community’s aspirations, and so what we’ve come up with is hopefully going to stand out,” he said.

The glass walls along Salem Avenue will bring in a lot of natural light, and the market’s lighting will enliven the street, Sauer said.

The rendering shows a digital signboard at the very tip of the building, which could have work by local artists, short animations and provide the time, temperature or store specials, Sauer said.

East of the building will be a plaza with public seating for community events, and there is space on the property for a 4,000-square-foot commercial development, Klein said.

The market wants to be a good neighbor that residents value, and that’s why it is asking the community for feedback on things like the architecture and number of parking spots, she said.

“Now is the time to weigh in on what it’s going to look like, especially people in this neighborhood,” she said.

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