Port Authority: We can help with Good Samaritan redevelopment

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 @ 2:30 PM

Premier Health last week said that Good Samaritan Hospital will close by the end of the year. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Premier Health last week said that Good Samaritan Hospital will close by the end of the year. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority has tools to help redevelop the Good Samaritan Hospital site, trustees of the authority said Monday.

Last week, Premier Health announced that it was closing the hospital in Northwest Dayton, saying the site would be shuttered within a year, with 1,600 employees being transitioned to other Premier locations in the area.

Rick Poole, a trustee of the Port Authority, said that even before last week’s announcement, however, fellow trustees had discussed how to do more for the west side of the city and the community in a planning meeting last month.

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“I think there is even more opportunity to focus on the west side of the city,” Poole, owner of Natural Foods Plus in Dayton, said at a trustees meeting Monday.

Jerry Brunswick, the Port Authority’s president and executive director, agreed.

“The importance for all of that stuff has now accelerated,” Brunswick told Poole and his fellow trustees. “There’s going to be a shovel ready site.”

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Leaders of Premier said they hope to work with Dayton city government and local stakeholders on positioning the Good Sam site for the future.

Later, Brunswick said the Port Authority has several tools at its disposal, including a $14 million bond fund shared with the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority. From that fund, both organizations can issue bonds that can help finance development in their respective service areas.

Port Authorities can also offer sales tax exemptions on construction projects and get construction started quickly in “no bid” projects, he added.

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The Port Authority is also involved in redevelopment of the former Montgomery County Fairgrounds, today owned by Premier and the University of Dayton.

“We’ve got unused capacity as it stands,” Brunswick said.

He said neither Premier nor city government have yet approached the Port Authority for help.

“I think Premier and CityWide (Development Corp., the city’s private development arm) know about our capabilities,” Brunswick said.

After the meeting, Poole said addressing needs in that part of the community is more important than ever.

“We have started to take the initiative even before that devastating announcement,” said Poole, whose business is located at 2901 Philadelphia Drive, about two miles from Good Samaritan.

The Columbus firm planning NEXT will be involved in redevelopment of the hospital site on Philadelphia.

No date for demolition of the hospital has been set, since it will be operating until the end of the year.

Premier will also work with CityWide Development to help re-purpose the site. CityWide and the Port Authority have worked together on many projects in the past.

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Gibson pushes back against bankruptcy talk, hires new CFO

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 9:24 AM

Steve Hammond, 49, plays a 1974 vintage Gibson acoustic guitar at The Guitar Center store in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
Steve Hammond, 49, plays a 1974 vintage Gibson acoustic guitar at The Guitar Center store in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Gibson is pushing back against reports of an impending bankruptcy and has hired a new chief financial officer, who starts with the company Monday.

Gibson Brands, Inc., maker of the famed Les Paul and ES-335 electric guitars, released a statement saying it has met all “current obligations to the bondholders, is in the process of arranging a new credit facility to replace the bonds, and fully expects the bonds to be refinanced in the ordinary course of business.”

In the statement, Gibson Chairman and Chief Executive Henry Juszkiewicz said: “These bonds expire as all fixed income instruments do at the end of their term.”

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He said also that the company has been working with Jefferies investment bank to manage the refinancing process.

“While the musical instrument and pro audio segments have been profitable and growing, they are still below the level of success we saw several years ago,” Juszkiewicz said.

Also, the Nashville-based company said that Benson Woo will return to Gibson as the company’s chief financial officer today.

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Said Juszkiewicz:”We are excited and pleased that Benson with be coming back to the Gibson Brands family. He has a great knowledge of the industry, our current businesses and is liked and respected by everyone at Gibson and with whom he dealt. We are confident he will contribute to moving the company forward.”

Woo had previously served with Gibson in 2016. He replaces Bill Lawrence. 

The CEO said that the company is “streamlining” and will focus its Philips brand consumer audio business on those products that have “greater growth potential,” as well as eliminating product segments that fall below expectations.

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While Gibson has been struggling to re-pay debt, an officer with Moody’s Investors Service has told the Nashville Post that the company’s core guitar business remains sound.

“The core business is a very stable business, and a sustainable one,” Kevin Cassidy, of Moody’s, told the newspaper. “But you have a balance sheet problem and an operational problem.”

Gibson was founded in 1894 and makes musical instruments, and consumer and professional audio. Juszkiewicz acquired Gibson in 1986 with fellow investors. The company has a portfolio of over 100 well-recognized brand names.

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A dream home the way you want it: Vandalia firm grows with demand

Published: Sunday, February 18, 2018 @ 10:29 AM

Greg Barney, new owner of Vandalia’s Unibilt, said he sees promise in the modular home industry. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF
Thomas Gnau/Staff
Greg Barney, new owner of Vandalia’s Unibilt, said he sees promise in the modular home industry. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Thomas Gnau/Staff)

Greg Barney’s journey to owner of Unibilt Industries Inc. has included everything from accounting to framing homes.

After working as Vandalia’s Unibilt as vice president of business development for several years, took the helm Jan. 1, buying a company that has built more than 12,000 modular homes since the late 1960s.

Barney bought the company from Sharon and Doug Scholz, who decided to retire.

Scholz’ father Carl started Unibilt in 1969. Barney’s father, Jack, worked with Carl Scholz in the 1950s at Vandalia Sales; the elder Barney started Vandalia Rental in 1961, and that company is now a busy equipment rental business run by Barney’s nephew, Kurt Barney.

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Tim Scarpelli, a framer at Unibilt, measures as he sets a wall on what will be someone’s new home. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Staff Writer)

Unibilt builds modular homes inside an manufacturing complex on Johnson Station Road in Vandalia where weather doesn’t affect storage or construction.

By the time modular homes are placed on their foundations, the structures are 85 percent complete.

“These are built exactly like you build a home out on the job site,” Barney said. “They’re just built in pieces and (shipped) right out to the job site.”

The University of Dayton graduate worked for accounting firm Ernst and Young for eight years before getting into developing and residential “stick-framing.” (“Stick-framing” or “stick-building” are terms Barney uses for building a home on site once lumber and parts have been delivered. The entire house is raised on site.)

Then the Great Recession turned his head around.

“I got through the downturn and kind of re-evaluated everything,” Barney said. “The downturn kind of decimated the industry. A lot of people retired and moved on.”

Finding help

Young people were avoiding construction trades. Demand for new homes didn’t appear to be there. Even today, in a period of renewed demand, it’s difficult to find qualified trades people, Barney said.

A home under construction at Unibilt in Vandalia. All Unibilt’s modular homes, and all the materials for those homes, are built and stored indoors. The company has built more than 12,200 modular homes since 1969. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF(Staff Writer)

Still, the pull of home-building — modular home-building — was there for Barney.

“I view this as something that will become a little more prominent in the industry,” he said. “Right now, you see a lot of people looking at different ways, better ways, to build houses.”

Home-building really hasn’t changed in decades, he said. The lack of qualified trades people — carpenters, framers, plumbers, electricians and many others — are forcing a new look at how homes are built.

“It’s become extremely expensive and really only an affordable product (for the builders) for the higher-end homes,” he said.

Modular homes

Modular building is faster and efficient, Barney believes. All materials are nearby and weather delays aren’t a factor. Framers, plumbers, electricians, drywall finishers and others work at the same station of the build process where perform the same job every day.

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Unibilt has 86 employees and is hiring. Barney sees a need for a dozen more employees before 2019.

Materials enter into one end of Unibilt’s 120,000-square-foot production site and at the other end are largely finished homes.

He doesn’t expect modular construction to overtake stick-framing. But he does believe growth is likely.

“I think the thing we fight is a stigma,” Barney said. “Everyone looks at us as a manufacturer of double-wides. And it’s just not like that.”

Unibilt offers a range of custom options, he said.

He declined to discuss the terms of his purchase or to offer revenue or sales numbers. But he said the company is experiencing growth in volume of homes sold and associated revenue.

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Strong start: Retail sales boom in January

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 8:38 AM

Presidents Day: The Top Sales from Amazon, Macy's and More Amazon Save up to 70% on electronics, clothing, and more Best Buy Get up to 35% off on appliances Target Get 15 percent off furniture and 15 percent off rugs online now through Feb. 19 with code GEORGE. Macy's Get an extra 20% off sale items with promo code PRES between Feb. 15 and 19. eBay Take 20% off select home, tech, and more with code PRES20 through Feb. 20.

Consumers are spending big in 2018.

An improving economy kept January retail sales nearly as good as the holiday season’s strong showing. The National Retail Federation announced sales increased 5.4 percent in January compared to last year at the same time.

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The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants sales. Employment has increased, labor markets are tightening and wage growth is on the rise, contributing to strong retail sales, according to Jack Kleinhenz, NRF chief economist.

“These numbers reinforce a positive start to 2018 that reflects ongoing consumer optimism brought about by solid economic fundamentals,” Kleinhenz said.

A lot of the growth was fueled by online sales. Online and other non-store sales were up 13.2 percent year-over-year and were unchanged from December.

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Report: Winn-Dixie owner preparing for bankruptcy, up to 200 stores could close

Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 @ 3:23 PM

Bi-Lo, Owner of Winn-Dixie, Reportedly Preparing For Bankruptcy

Winn-Dixie owner Bi-Lo is preparing for bankruptcy, according to a Bloomberg report.

>> Read more trending news 

Up to 200 stores could close as part of a bankruptcy filing, Bloomberg reported. According to Winn-Dixie's website, the retailer has locations in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The bankruptcy filing could come as early as next month, Bloomberg reported. 

Bi-Lo has not publicly confirmed any bankruptcy plans.

Traditional grocery stores have faced increased competition from online retailers like Amazon.

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