What makes Dayton's Ludlow Place building such a success?

Now: Exterior of Ludlow Place & Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Dayton, November 14, 2016. PHOTO / Tom Gilliam
Now: Exterior of Ludlow Place & Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Dayton, November 14, 2016. PHOTO / Tom Gilliam

How did this building become one of Dayton’s greatest successes?

This week on The Buildings of Dayton, I'm going to tell you the story of Ludlow Place, located at 204 S. Ludlow St. in downtown Dayton.

>> PHOTOS: A look inside downtown Dayton's Ludlow Place building

Built in 1905 as the CPA Building for the Christian Publishing Association, this four story building, on the southeast corner of Fifth & Ludlow Streets, was also home to the Hamiel Hat Company. The American Hatter, Volume 45 magazine from February 1916 listed hat prices at Hamiel's ranging from $1 to $2.

This building also withstood the Great Flood of 1913. Known as the Hamiel Building even after owner Chas W. Hamiel passed away and his shop closed in 1932, the original "Hamiel's Hats and Furnishings" ad, painted on the south wall's bricks, remains as a ghost sign, a rare piece of Americana slowly fading away.

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Stone's Grill operated on the ground floor in the 1950s. By 1960, the building's upper floors were vacated. In 1974, Mac's Bar & Grill, located on the ground floor, closed. By this time, the building was in serious disrepair and finally became completely vacant around 1980.

In 1983, architect Jeff Wray purchased the property, performed much needed restoration, changed the building's name to Ludlow Place and was able to get the building added to the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Dayton Terra-Cotta Historic District on May 31, 1984. Throughout Wray's 26 years of ownership, a wide variety of professional tenants rented office space at Ludlow Place. Wray passed away unexpectedly in 2009, leaving the building's future uncertain.

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Attorney Daniel Brown of the Brown Law Office, along with Annette Miller Architects, Nauman & Zelinski LLC and BC&E Engineering LLC, all tenants of Ludlow Place, purchased the property in September 2013. Shortly after the deal closed, the ownership group quickly started work on improvements. "We invested approximately $120K to repair the roof, repair & paint the windows and repair & tuck point the brick exterior. In addition, we spent $30K to remodel the coffee shop space prior to 3rd Perk moving in," said Brown.

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In July 2015, Ludlow Place reached 100 percent occupancy for the first time in over 50 years. In addition to the ownership group, the current tenants are as follows: Knack Creative LLC, 3rd Perk Coffee & Wine Bar, Roto-Rooter Plumbing, Alliance Industrial Masking, American Family Insurance and Beyer Law LLC.

"The current owners of Ludlow Place miss Jeff Wray on a personal level because he was a sincerely nice guy and welcoming landlord," said Brown. "On a professional level, we appreciate the vision, investment and hard work he put into restoring this beautiful building that we now own and continue to enjoy. Jeff was one of the most prominent historic preservation architects in Ohio and the buildings he restored (RTA's Conover Building, The Old Court House & Stivers School for the Arts, to name a few) will remain for future generations to experience as a testament to his unique talent."

Special thanks to Daniel Brown from the Brown Law Office and Tony Kroeger & Amy Walbridge from the City of Dayton's Planning Department for providing historical information and additional resources for this story.