Downtown’s sleeping giant is almost ready to wake up

One of the region’s most anticipated projects -- the Dayton Arcade, downtown’s sleeping giant -- is getting closer to reality, developers say.

The latest move came Wednesday, when the Ohio Housing Finance Agency approved about $22.5 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits for the Dayton Arcade, as well as a $4 million low-interest housing development loan.

This is expected to be the last major milestone before financing is finalized and work begins to resuscitate the long-slumbering complex, developers said.

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“We’ll now go through our checklist to close on financing, and this was a big key component of that,” said Trace Shaughnessy, vice president of McCormack Baron Salazar, which is handling the housing part of the Arcade project.

The closing is expected to happen by mid to late November, and developers hope to begin construction by the end of the year. New housing in the Arcade is targeted to open early in the second quarter of 2020.

In 2016, the Dayton Arcade was awarded about $20 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the state.

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On Wednesday, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency board approved a special allocation of $2.25 million annually in credits to the Arcade for a period of 10 years, totaling $22.5 million.

The special allocation was necessary because there was a delay in the Arcade project stemming from its complexity and a change in developers, said Kelan Craig, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency’s director of planning, preservation and development.

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Miller-Valentine Group withdrew from the project, and St. Louis-based McCormack Baron Salazar took over the housing components. Maryland-based Cross Street Partners is the lead developer.

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The Arcade also is getting a $4 million loan for new housing, which has a 2.5 percent interest rate over 10 years, he said.

Shaughnessy, with McCormack Baron Salazar, said there’s not much left standing in the way of the Arcade project beginning. He said what remains is mostly finalizing the financing and working out legal details.

The first phase of the Arcade’s housing is scheduled to include 108 affordable units across four buildings. There will be a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The second phase, focused on the northern part of the complex, is planned to include additional housing, likely market-rate units.

Local development leaders have said for months that the Arcade project is nearly to the finish line.Funding sources include state and federal historic tax credits, new market tax credits, low income housing tax credits and a $10 million city of Dayton loan.

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