Entertainment a goal for Fairborn’s reuse of 139-year-old ‘iconic’ building

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

The city wants to redevelop its 139-year-old former Fire Station 1 for commercial use with hospitality or entertainment projects most desired.

Fairborn is seeking proposals for the vacant site at 29 N. Broad St. — near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — after committing $2 million in federal money to the vacant building that closed in 2007.

That financial allotment represents about 30% of Fairborn’s $6.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds and dwarfs all other city projects receiving ARPA money by at least $1 million.

Credit: STAFF

Credit: STAFF

“It’s got that Victorian look to it,” said Mike Gebhart, assistant city manager. “That’s one the iconic buildings in the city … and people want to see it repurposed for something. So, we’re very sentimental about that building.”

Fairborn’s goal is to redevelop the site with “a viable commercial use while preserving the character-defining features of the building,” according to city records.

While “a wide range of commercial uses” will be considered, “proposals that involve a hospitality or entertainment re-use are preferred, but so will proposals with other commercial uses such as office and/or retail,” Fairborn documents state.

Proposals should “contribute to the commercial activity in the downtown area” and the site “should support commercial activity by contributing to market demand and/or providing complementary goods and services” or “employment opportunities for the area,” city records show.

Gebhart said he doesn’t envision the site for strictly office space. He said it may more likely attract hospitality management, food service, historical or restaurant uses, but it’s difficult to tell at this point.

Fairborn has set a Dec. 1 deadline to submit proposals.

“Essentially what we’re looking for is their idea and their business plan, some basic financials to see if they can basically tackle the project,” Gebhart said. “We thought they’d need several months to put that together.”

Fairborn will review submissions in December and January. It is targeting a recommendation to city council in February and executing a contract in March.

Meanwhile, Fairborn is working with general contractor Energy Systems Group to convert the building to a “vanilla shell” to prepare it for redevelopment, according to the city.

Fairborn is paying ESG $185,405 in ARPA funds, City Manager Rob Anderson said.

The Broad Street structure was built in 1884 as a Bath Twp. schoolhouse in the village of Fairfield, according to Dayton Daily News records.

After a new Bath Twp. school opened in 1924 on North Central Avenue, the Broad Street site was converted into a multipurpose facility. Fairfield City Hall and the Fairfield Fire Department shared the property.

On Jan. 1, 1950, the villages Fairfield and Osborn officially merged to become the incorporated city of Fairborn. Around that time, the building was dedicated as a firehouse and was renamed Fairborn Fire Station #1, city records show.

It was vacated on Jan. 5, 2007, when the new Fairborn Fire Department Station #1 was completed down the street on 495 N. Broad St., according to the city.

About the Author