From DDN: Goodwill site could bring new jobs

Published: Monday, December 26, 2011 @ 10:21 AM
Updated: Monday, December 26, 2011 @ 10:21 AM

Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley plans to build a $10 million headquarters on Main Street just south of U.S. 35, a move that city officials say will boost the southern gateway to downtown.

The 125 employees who work at Goodwill’s Kuntz Road headquarters, off Stanley Avenue, will move to the new building, and Goodwill officials anticipate creating 50 more jobs in five years at the new site.

The area of Patterson, Main and Warren streets just south of U.S. 35 has seen several positive moves in the past few years. The area is within the zone for the Greater Downtown Plan.

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The plan to revitalize downtown, create 8,000 jobs and 2,500 housing units by 2020.

The site between the Central Business District and Miami Valley Hospital is the latest development planned to improve the Main and Warren street corridor.

• One block west of the Goodwill site is the redesigned youth shelter that Daybreak moved into in 2008.

• One block east is the historic Marvin Gardens apartment complex that St. Mary Development Corp. took out of foreclosure and renovated thanks to $1.85 million in federal and nonprofit agency grants. Twenty of those 25 low-income units are already rented.

• On the southern edge of that area, Miami Valley Hospital continues to expand, and the corridor also has restaurant development to join Benham’s and The Brunch Club.

When MVH bought his former bar site on Brown Street, Jimmie Brandell renovated a 120-year-old firehouse about a block north and last month opened a bigger restaurant and bar called Jimmie’s Ladder 11. And Coco’s Bistro on Wayne Avenue is renovating a vacant building at 250 Warren St., targeting a 2012 opening.

“What Goodwill is doing there will really be transformative to that section,” said Dr. Mike Ervin, co-chair of the Greater Downtown Plan. “It’s just one more step in this bigger plan to transform the center of the region. All of these little things add up.”

Goodwill could move in by 2013

Goodwill hopes to start demolition of the building at 652 S. Main St. next summer and then construct a 80,000 square-foot community service center that it could occupy in 2013 or 2014.

Dayton Assistant City Manager Shelley Dickstein called Goodwill a great organization and a long-term anchor for the area.

“We’re really excited about the revitalization of that whole Warren corridor,” Dickstein said. “There’s a great deal of activity. The Warren corridor is a really important gateway into downtown, and Goodwill’s redevelopment gets rid of some of the remaining blight.”

Goodwill plans to move its vision services, job coaches and training programs, adult day services, mental health programs and other support functions to the new center. The group hopes to add computer labs for job seekers and a wellness center for people with disabilities.

“The site is accessible for the people we serve — it’s on the bus line, in the center of the community,” said Lance Detrick, vice president of Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley.

Detrick and city officials said having Goodwill downtown was important.

“We want to support the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan as it’s important for the success of our entire region,” Detrick said. “And we can contribute to the renovation and rebirth of the neighborhood.”

Public, private funds in project

Goodwill will knock down the former Printing Services Company building, which has been vacant for nine years. Goodwill officials say the project will be a mix of public and private funds, including a $2.19 million Clean Ohio grant from the state.

But there are still several vacant buildings in the neighborhood, such as the former Freedom Electric complex on South Main.

One huge vacant lot along Warren Street could see progress in the next year. CityWide Development plans to issue a request for proposals in the coming weeks on nine acres including the former Cliburn Manor housing site.

Cliburn Manor was demolished in 2008 and cleaned up. Dickstein said there are few clean, developable sites of that size so close to downtown.

CityWide Senior Vice President Steve Nutt said his group talked to South Park and Fairgrounds residents on their ideas for the property, and said the resurgence of the South Park neighborhood could help the project. In turn, a new development could create a better gateway to South Park off Warren Street. But Nutt said progress will depend on developers’ vision for the site.

If new business arrives at Cliburn Manor, it will join anchors such as Gorby’s Transmission across the street, which has been in business there for 57 years.

Bill Holdren, the owner of Gorby’s, is optimistic.

“There’s definitely been major improvement here over the years,” Holdren said. “Miami Valley and the University of Dayton have had big influence, and the South Park neighborhood does a good job. I’ve seen the forecast for the area, and I’m sure they’ll accomplish it. I see nothing but good.”

To learn more about the downtown Dayton plan, visit Downtowndayton.org/plan.

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